The gist of the article is that we are still struggling to get masks to the front lines. I’ve included pertinent quotes for bypassing the NYT paywall.
This is not a bashing post, just an update and some queries.
I posted yesterday that Cuomo, governor of NY, said that the state had procured 2 million N95 masks. This article said they had to go overseas and pay $4 for what is normally an $0.80 item. They did not specify the source.
Hanes is starting to make masks, but they cannot make the N95’s which are the ones needed in hospitals.
It turns out that the overwhelming supplier of medical supplies or the materials to make them come from overseas, particularly China. I guess that is something we need to address at some point. Brings me back to my point yesterday of stockpiling as assiduously as we do bullets and bombs for defense after this crisis passes.
“Mr. Trump resisted appeals from state and local officials and hospital administrators for more aggressive action, saying he would not compel companies to make face masks and other gear to protect front-line health workers from the virus.”
Does anyone know why?
Don said the other day that making ventilators is not like cranking out hockey pucks. True enough. But are N95 masks that much more complicated than hockey pucks?
“We have calls from doctors and hospitals that are calling us directly asking if we could ship them masks to their houses in desperation, because the masks are being stolen from the hospitals,” said Ronald Reuben, the chief executive of Medicom, a Canadian company that is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of N-95 and other medical face masks.”
“Mike Bowen, whose company, Prestige Ameritech, makes masks in a factory in North Richland Hills, Tex., said that he told officials in the Bush, Obama and Trump administrations that about 95 percent of surgical masks are manufactured outside the United States, including by American companies that moved factories overseas to reduce costs. Mr. Bowen said he had repeatedly told federal officials that American hospitals would be at the mercy of other countries in a pandemic.”
“Aside from sitting in front of the White House and lighting myself on fire, I feel like I’ve done everything I can,” Mr. Bowen said. Recently, Mr. Bowen said, his company has been fielding roughly 100 calls a day from hospitals and others desperate for more masks.”
“Other American companies are finding their supply chains frozen.”
“In its factory in Charlotte, N.C., Strong Manufacturers has three L-shaped machines that are set up to churn out about 70 masks a minute, or roughly 9 million a month.”
“But the company sourced the raw materials for the masks from a supplier in Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus outbreak started. Now, the goods aren’t coming.”
That’s the update on masks. I thought we were doing better than this. I hope we can get up to speed faster.