President Trump on Thursday evening invoked the Defense Production Act after 3M sold and exported N95 masks to other countries who had bid the highest for them. On Twitter, President Trump stated, “we hit 3M hard after what they did with their masks.” Trump continued that they will have a “big price to pay” for what they have done.
We hit 3M hard today after seeing what they were doing with their Masks. “P Act” all the way. Big surprise to many in government as to what they were doing – will have a big price to pay!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 3, 2020
Since the coronavirus COVID-29 pandemic began in the United States there has been a massive shortage of N95 masks and other medical equipment. Hospitals across the United States are in critical need of medical supplies with the rapid spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19. In the United States, there have been 265,001 confirmed cases and there have been 6,766 confirmed deaths since the outbreak began in the U.S. on Jan. 19.
Governors across the country have pleaded with President Trump and the federal government to help with obtaining the equipment that hospitals, doctors, nurses, and patients need to help contain the virus and save lives. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the United States needs over 3.5 billion face masks for medical workers and citizens.
During an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street,” 3M Chief Executive Mike Roman defended his companies actions. Roman stated, “nothing is further from the truth.” Roman continued that his company was doing everything possible to produce more masks.
In a statement released by 3M, the company warned President Trump that if exports of masks are stopped it would make them less available in the United States. The company went on to state that it would have “significant humanitarian implications.”
A message from CEO Mike Roman outlining 3M's additional plans to address PPE shortages. Our gratitude goes out to all of the healthcare workers and first responders at the front lines. Read full statement here: https://t.co/L0DUVmFyck #coronavirus #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/KkFVBgPvMU
— 3M (@3M) March 31, 2020
President Trump has issued directives to Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf to “use any authority available under the Act to acquire from 3M and its affiliates” to obtain as many N95 they deem needed.
N95 respirators masks are important is because they are more protective, tight-fitting and have a filter that prevents 95% of airborne germs, allergens, smoke, fog, and certain non-oil-based particles.
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On Tuesday during a press conference, President Trump recommended that all Americans wear some sort of face-covering while going out in public. Trump stated that “scarves are very good” to use if no mask is available. It has also been recommended that individuals can make homemade masks if needed.
The Society of Critical Care Medicine has also reported that over one million ventilators will be needed while there are only 200,000 machines available nationwide.
Under the Defense Production Act enacted under President Harry Truman in 1950, the Act allows the executive branch of government to order private industry manufacturers to produce what is needed for defense production. The Defense Production Act also allows the government to order manufacturers to supply basic resources, to produce for critical infrastructure needs, medical equipment, allocate raw materials towards national defense, stockpiling, control consumer and real estate credit. Hoarding and price gouging of needed materials and products are not allowed under the law.
The White House task force has projected that there will an estimated 100,000 and 240,000 deaths due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.