Hand sanitizer could be harder to find for consumers amid coronavirus outbreak

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Hand sanitizer could be harder to find for consumers in the U.S. amid the coronavirus pandemic due to a shortage of plastic bottles and a key compound used in the process, according to a report last Wednesday.

Plastic-container producer Berry Global Group Inc. says the increase in food production during the outbreak has caused them to devote many of those resources elsewhere because of the necessity of people needing to eat.

“We’re not selling 6-ounce containers to hand sanitizer companies, we’re selling those to yogurt companies,” spokeswoman Amy Waterman said, according to Bloomberg.

OVER 600 DISTILLERIES, BIG AND SMALL, NOW MAKING HAND SANITIZER DURING CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK

Hand sanitizer could be harder to find for consumers in the U.S. amid the coronavirus pandemic due to a shortage of plastic bottles and a key compound used in the process, according to a report last Wednesday.(iStock)

Health care organizations are also requesting shipments first due to the importance of protecting front line workers, which means consumers may be forced to wait — as sales in the U.S. increased by 239 percent in March compared to last year, according to data from Nielsen.

QYK Brands LLC, a cosmetics firm based in California, sells more hand sanitizer than any other product, but plastic containers and chemical components needed to make the gel are in limited supply, Chief Executive Offer Rakesh Tammabattula told the media company.

He added that demand goes to competitors like GOJO Industries Inc., the maker of Purell or CVS Health Corp.

Other companies are forced to adapt to meet the growing demand.

Distilleries throughout the U.S., are helping to make hand sanitizer, producing thousands of gallons per day. Bacardi, whose facility in Jacksonville, Fla., has bottled 24,000 gallons alone — equating to 120,000 units of 750 ml bottles — which will be going out to each of Florida’s 67 counties. Most of those shipments will go to front line health care workers, as they are in need of the most product.

RELATED: STOPPING CORONAVIRUS SPREAD: CAN I MAKE MY OWN HAND SANITIZER AT HOME? 

“Our goal was to really target those that are on the frontlines of this pandemic and interacting with the public probably the most. That lends itself to our first responders and our medical professionals,” Darrin Mueller, director of operations for Bacardi Bottling Corporation, told Fox News. “So, those throughout hospitals that are running short on supply, those out on the field.”

RPP Products Inc. normally makes automotive fluids, but they started producing sanitizer production a few weeks ago and are able to make roughly 150,000 gallons per week. Due to a shortage of widely used bottles, they have to package it in automotive bottles.

“If you want to go out and try and find bottles that everyone wants to use, you won’t be using them. You’ll be waiting weeks and months,” Chief Executive Officer Eric Zwigart said, according to Bloomberg.

Even a company like Lubrizol Corp., which produces Carbomer polymers used to thicken sanitizer formulations has seen “unprecedented increases in demand.” Health care companies get the first crack at their orders.

Zwigart says they will have to adapt and package their sanitizer with whatever materials they have available to get it out on time.

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“It’s not easy in these times,” he told the media company. “You do the best you can.”

Fox News’ Robert Sherman contributed to this report

Coronavirus in the US: State-by-state breakdown

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As of Monday morning, the novel coronavirus has infected more than 1,860,011 people across 185 countries and territories, resulting in over 114,983 deaths. In the U.S., all 50 states plus the District of Columbia have reported confirmed cases of COVID-19, tallying over 557,590 illnesses and at least 22,109 deaths.

CORONAVIRUS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Here’s a look at the 10 states with the most COVID-19 cases. 

1. New York: 190,288 cases

2. New Jersey: 61,850 cases

3. Massachusetts: 25,475 cases

4. Michigan: 24,244 cases

5. California: 23,311 cases

6. Pennsylvania: 22,997 cases

7. Illinois: 20,852 cases

8. Louisiana: 20,595 cases

9. Florida: 19,895 cases

10. Texas 13,886 cases

States with outbreak-related deaths include: 

1. New York: 9,385 deaths

2. New Jersey: 2,350 deaths

3. Michigan: 1,479 deaths

4. Louisiana: 840 deaths

5. Massachusetts: 756 deaths

6. Illinois: 720 deaths

7. California: 682 deaths

8. Pennsylvania: 557 deaths

9. Connecticut: 554 deaths

10. Washington: 510 deaths

11. Florida: 461 deaths

12. Georgia: 442 deaths

13. Indiana: 343 deaths

14. Texas: 296 deaths

15. Colorado: 289 deaths

16. Ohio: 253 deaths

17. Maryland: 235 deaths

18. Wisconsin: 144 deaths

19. Virginia: 141 deaths

20. Missouri: 118 deaths

21. Arizona: 115 deaths

22. Nevada: 114 deaths

23. Kentucky: 113 deaths

24. Tennessee: 106 deaths

25. Oklahoma: 96 deaths

26. Mississippi: 96 deaths

27. Alabama: 93 deaths

28. North Carolina: 91 deaths

29. South Carolina: 82 deaths

30. Minnesota: 70 deaths

31. Rhode Island: 63 deaths

32. Kansas: 56 deaths

33. Oregon: 52 deaths

– Washington, D.C.: 50 deaths

34. Iowa: 41 deaths

35. Delaware: 35 deaths

36. Idaho: 27 deaths

37. Vermont: 27 deaths

38. Arkansas: 27 deaths

39. New Mexico: 26 deaths

40. New Hampshire: 23 deaths

41. Maine: 19 deaths

42. Utah: 18 deaths

43. Nebraska: 17 deaths

44. Hawaii: 9 deaths

45. Alaska: 8 deaths

46. West Virginia: 8 deaths

47. North Dakota: 8 deaths

48. Montana: 6 deaths

49. South Dakota: 6 deaths

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This file will be updated regularly. 

Coronavirus live blog: Pulmonologist Dr. Qanta Ahmed answers your questions

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