CLOSEA key tool in the fight against COVID-19 has disappeared from American retail shelves at the worst possible time.After sales exploded in March, personal thermometers frequently have gone missing in the weeks since, leaving consumers without a cheap and easy way to detect whether they’ve got a fever and might be part of the pandemic.The shortage is even worse than with toilet paper. And the problem is not likely to get fixed for months unless customers spring for more expensive models – or if there’s an intervention of some sort.“Lack of supply and huge demand,” said Stan Cohen, owner of 180 Innovations, a firm outside of Denver that imports thermometers for American retailers.The supply-chain breakdown goes back to China, which makes about 90% or more of the popular thermometers normally found at American retailers such as Walgreens, CVS Health, Rite Aid and others, Cohen said.How thermometers get to U.S. shelvesBefore they land on the shelves at these retailers for as little as $6 to $10 each, such thermometers typically are manufactured in China and then transported in containers on ocean freighters. After that, they are imported into the U.S. and sent to a distribution center for shipment to retailers.That process normally takes about three


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