US government turned down opportunity to manufacture millions of N95 masks at start of pandemic: report
This story looks really bad. But a cursory search on my part raises two concerns. If the manufacturer's phones were ringing off the hook, why did they not re-open the mask line and sell them to other interested parties?
The other is scale. 3M make 1.1 billion masks a year, and has pledged to increase production by 30%. Honeywell is another company expanding their mask production.
This story is a perfect example of journalistic problems. I am sure the article gets kudos for accuracy, but it is only telling a tiny part of the story.
But the story makes HHS look bad for turning down the business proposal....in January.
3M did increase production - last January:
3M CEO: ‘We’re going 24/7’ to ramp up production of masks to meet coronavirus demand
Published Tue, Jan 28 2020
“We are ramping to full production. We’re going 24/7,” Roman said. He added that the company is increasing production at its plants in China and other Asian countries, as well as in Europe in the United States.
3M Increases Respirator Production to Meet Growing Demand
To fill the growing demand for the devices, particularly the N95 respirator, 3M is ramping up production, which means hosting job fairs, making offers on the spot and expanding its assembly line with robots.
In Aberdeen, South Dakota, more than 650 employees at one of 3M’s largest manufacturing facilities are working overtime to increase face mask production.
“We immediately ramped up production in this facility,” says Andy Rehder, plant manager at 3M. “We have capacity to do that and we did that immediately ... really from a more standard five-day to a seven-day week.”
and more things as well:
3M inks $126M deal with DoD to increase N95 mask production in October
Also on Wednesday, 3M announced Ford is shipping 10,000 powered air-purifying respirators, or PAPRs -- which the two companies collaborated to develop -- to protect healthcare workers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to 3M, since the COVID-19 outbreak began, the company has doubled its global output of filtering facepiece respirators, such as N95s, to more than 1.1 billion per year, or 100 million per month -- with 35 million N95s being produced in the United States.
The company said that 90 percent of N95s it currently produces go directly to health care workers.
I read earlier that the plant in South Dakota had equipment in storage. In the middle of January (around the 17th?) the plant received a call about something going around in China and to increase production of the masks. The stored equipment was put online, the plant went from 5 days a week production to 7 days a week production, more people were hired, and people worked overtime. I believe that I had posted that somewhere in this thread. If someone wants to, they can look for it.
Seek peace but keep your gun handy.
I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing!
“Illegitemus non carborundum est (“Don’t let the bastards grind you down”).”
― Julia Child