Newsom Signs Contract For 200 Million Masks Per Month, But FEMA Is Seizing Supplies from Hospitals

Written by on April 8, 2020

The shortage of N-95 masks continues.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said last night that California has secured a monthly supply of 200 million N95 respiratory and surgical masks from overseas factories.

Speaking with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow … Newsome says contracts were signed over the last two days to bring in a the monthly supply.


“In the last forty eight hours … we have secured through a consortia of nonprofits and a manufacturer here in the state of California upwards of 200 million masks … on a monthly basis … that we are confident we can supply the needs in the state of California and potentially needs of other Western states.

“And so we just inked a number of contracts in the last number of days that give me the confidence to be able to say that.”

Newsom said California did not outbid other states … but used its massive buying power.

The L A Times reports that the identities of those suppliers were not available last night, nor were details about the number of masks each would be supplying to the state.

The masks will cost the state $495 million.

Delivery of the masks should begin in approximately a month, if not sooner.

Meanwhile … the federal government has begun to quietly confiscate masks and other medical supplies … not just in California.

Hospital and clinic officials in seven states described the seizures in interviews over the past week to the Los Angeles Times.

The federal government has not explained how it decides which supplies to seize and where to reroute them.

Officials who’ve had materials seized also say they’ve received no guidance from the government about how or if they will get access to the supplies they ordered. That has stoked concerns about how public funds are being spent and whether the Trump administration is fairly distributing scarce medical supplies … the L A Times reports.

Hospitals in California … Florida … Minnesota … Alaska … Washington state are seeing testing supplies … thermometers and masks confiscated by FEMA.

A FEMA representative tells the L-A Times that FEMA .. the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense have developed a system for identifying needed supplies from vendors and distributing them equitably.

But The Times notes that the agency has refused to provide any details about how these determinations are made or why it is choosing to seize some supply orders and not others. Administration officials also will not say what supplies are going to what states.

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