California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday evening that the state had reached agreements to obtain 200 million masks per month to assist medical personnel and the general public in the ongoing fight against the coronavirus.
Newsom made the announcement during an appearance on The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC. The Los Angeles Times elaborated:
The masks are among the most coveted supplies needed in hospitals and medical facilities that are treating people infected with the coronavirus amid a nationwide shortage of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers. They will come from a consortium of suppliers, including a California nonprofit, a California manufacturer with suppliers in Asia and from a company sterilizing used masks, according to Nathan Click, the governor’s spokesman.
It is not clear what “suppliers in Asia” means, though it likely refers, at least in part, to China.
Last month, Southern California Public Radio reported on the manufacture of masks, noting that China dominated the industry (with machinery made in Germany, using parts from the U.S. and Japan as well). The New York Times reported that China makes half the masks in the world — and that it had bought “much of the rest of the world’s supply” as it struggled with coronavirus.
American companies have also joined the mask-making effort — partly through President Donald Trump’s use of the Defense Production Act — though it is not clear that U.S. firms can match Chinese manufacturing capacity.
Last month, Newsom indicated that California would be sourcing emergency medical supplies directly from China, according to San Francisco ABC affiliate KGO-7:
“One billion gloves, 500 million N95 masks, 200 million shields, you get the picture,” are some of the personal protective equipment that will be sent here.
“We’re going to be sending chartered flights from China into the state of California already working with some of the largest logistics firms in the world with FedEx and UPS to do just that.”
China has come under severe criticism for hiding the nature and extent of the coronavirus outbreak earlier this year.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.