The COVID-19 pandemic has caused great changes and challenges, disrupting not only the global marketplace but also the supply chains that keep people and essential businesses healthy and functioning. For example, amid an already growing market for infection-control gear and hygienic products made of nonwoven thermoplastic fabrics, COVID-19 has greatly strained and helped to reshape the global supply chain for nonwoven personal protective equipment (PPE).
Before the pandemic, a major share of nonwoven materials and PPE were produced in Asian countries, particularly China. However, the global spread of
COVID-19 has driven many countries —and many of their businesses — to create or expand regional production of nonwoven PPE to meet local demand, especially for the surgical-grade and N95 face masks needed by medical professionals as well as the general public to stem the spread of the virus. This market response — and the incremental PPE production offered by both existing and new-to-the market producers — has played an important role in global pandemic response efforts.