On Saturday, President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and the rest of the United States coronavirus task force gave their daily update. Both Trump and Pence emphasized was that the national shortage of hand sanitizer and surgical masks would be coming to an end, saying that Pernod Ricard USA, a multinational adult beverage company, was switching up their production in four states to make hand sanitizer to bring to the frontlines of the coronavirus battle. The company’s Arizona facility made 1,000 gallons of sanitizer to World Health Organization (WHO) specifications this week.
Pence explained that distribution of the face masks would be coordinated directly with the states that need them through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Pence said the federal government had ordered “hundreds of millions” of N95 masks for health care facilities across the country, but he wasn’t clear when they’d actually be delivered. He also encouraged anyone hoarding masks or sanitizer to donate them to hospitals.
With medical officials warning that they may run out of supplies soon, many states were looking to the White House to be more aggressive, but the president said companies were stepping up voluntarily. Trump cited Hanes and General Motors, which will make masks, explaining, “We want them on the open market from the standpoint of pricing.”
In New York state alone, FEMA is expected to distribute a million masks, one of many measures being taken in the state after it was given a major disaster declaration on Friday, March 20, The New York Times reports. There are more 10,000 cases of infection there as of Saturday.
With tales everywhere of American’s hoarding masks and hand sanitizer, many, including Rep. Katie Porter, have called on corporate America to help hospitals out. Earlier this week, she asked Amazon to redirect all stock towards medical facilities.