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Hospitals still ration medical N95 masks as stockpiles swell

Nurses picket Friday, Feb. 12, 2021 in Faribault, Minn., during a healthcare worker protest of a shortage on protective masks. One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S.  finds itself with many millions of N95 masks pouring out of American factories and heading into storage. Yet there still aren’t nearly enough in ICU rooms and hospitals. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

By JASON DEAREN, JULIET LINDERMAN and MARTHA MENDOZA Associated Press
One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of N95 masks are pouring out of U.S. factories and heading into storage. Yet there still aren’t nearly enough going to hospitals. An Associated Press investigation finds that this logistical breakdown is due to federal failures over the past year to coordinate supply chains. Internal emails also show there were deliberate decisions to withhold vital information about new mask manufacturers and availability. Exclusive trade data and interviews with manufacturers, hospital associations and frontline medical workers reveal a deadly disconnect — and not an actual shortage — that is depriving doctors, nurses, paramedics and other people risking exposure to COVID-19 of first-rate protection.

 


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