Production of 500 million N95 air-filtering respirator masks that President Donald Trump ordered could take up to 18 months to get into the hands of the hospitals and healthcare professionals who desperately need them, because Trump doesn’t want to buy the masks from China.
Bloomberg Law reported Thursday that the grant application revealed the information that hasn’t been distributed to the public.
Currently, hospitals and healthcare workers are being told to reuse masks or make their own out of scarves and bandanas. At the same time, hospitals are also beginning to run out of hand sanitizer in some locations, with medical suppliers unable to refill.
“The government is expecting the masks to be delivered incrementally, according to the application, but will allow those deliveries to occur over 18 months,” said Bloomberg Law. “Manufacturers in China aren’t able to fulfill the request.”
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told companies to produce and distribute the masks using an executive order to invoke the Defense Production Act, but Trump claimed it would only be used as a “worst-case scenario.”
Sewing experts are posting patterns to help people be able to sew some masks for those in need.