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The Face Mask Shortage and What To Do About It
Take a guess, how many factories in the United States are producing face masks to meet the pandemic demand?
If you guessed 20 you’d be wrong.
Because the answer is: one.
During the Bush administration there were six which produced about half the US ear loop and respirator mask needs.
Now there is one manufacturer of resiprators and ear loop masks… and it produces 5% of America’s medical mask needs.
Yes, after eight years of Barack Obama and his administration, there was only one factory left that can produce medical face masks on an industrial scale.
After eight years of Obama’s destruction of American Industry, and the massive growth of China, 95% of all such masks now come from outside the United States. And almost all of them come from China. With a few percent coming from Taiwan and India.
On February 3rd, President Trump spoke to this issue:
“The corona virus shows the importance of bringing manufacturing back to America so that we are producing, at home, the medicines and equipment and everything else that we need to protect the public’s health.”
“That process has already started. We want to make certain things at home. We want to be doing our manufacturing at home. It’s not only done in China; it’s done in many other places, including Ireland, and a lot of places make our different drugs and things that we need so badly.”
Trade expert Alan Tonelson praised the Trump administration’s efforts to bring back vital manufacturing factories from abroad.
He wrote: “A U.S. economy heavily reliant on vital medicines and their ingredients from an increasingly hostile and secretive China is a devastating indictment of pre-Trump national security and public health policy.”
CHINA SILENTLY DECLARES FACE MASK WAR ON THE US
At present in the pandemic, China is using every breathing protection mask it can produce. Their production capacity is a staggering 20 million ear loop and other type masks a day, but it’s nowhere near enough to meet the need in China during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The population of China is about 1 billion 400 million people. That might mean a need of 1 billion masks a day for the one-time use ear loop surgical-type masks, and the country can produce about 20 million masks a day.
China has placed a restriction, a block on export of ear loop and respirator breathing protection products masks China. Included of course is the N95 and FFP3 type masks.
These are the type of mask which can actually block the corona virus and protect the wearer. Something absolutely essential to medical staff.
Not only has China blocked the export of masks to the US, but an American company which produces such masks at its factory in China has been nationalized by the Chinese government. Those American masks are now Chinese masks. According to a statement from advisor to President Trump, Peter Navaro, the administration is working to secure the return of the factory to US control.
Taiwan and India have also blocked export of medical face masks, to try and meet their own needs locally. As mentioned, these countries were the other two suppliers for the US, in addition to China.
This effectively leaves the US without very important means to protect medical staff and the general population.
A situation which deteriorated during the Obama administration, where the US capability was reduced from more than 50% of the yearly requirement being produced in the US, to 5% being produced in the US. Thank you Democrats, we are 95% short on masks and this can result in disaster.
DO WE REALLY NEED FACE MASKS?
There is advice that the masks and not necessary. This is true in the sense that the standard ear loop doctor / dentist mask, such as we see everyone wearing in China, can not block the virus. The virus is too small and can enter through the masks easily. Thus in one sense the ear look masks can’t block the virus. However such ear loop masks do perform two vital functions and is the reason while in China, anyone found without a mask is imprisoned in “quarantine centers” immediately.
The standard ear loop masks do serve two very important functions, and without them, major problems in the pandemic will occur:
First, if an infected person is coughing or sneezing, the ear loop masks do keep the large droplets away from other people.
Secondly, someone who is wearing the mask and who encounters large size infected droplets in the air, for example from an infected person who coughs or sneezes, those drops will be caught on the outside of the mask, and might not penetrate through to the wearer.
The N95 and FFP3 antiviral masks of course also perform these basic functions, in addition to blocking the virus itself.
TRYING TO FIND MASKS FOR YOUR FAMILY?
Lines in shops, both retail shops and on the internet, are long. And when shoppers get to the shelves which usually hold breathing protection… those shelves are empty.
What has exactly happened during the eight years of Barack Obama? Why are masks in such short supply?
First of all, Obama and his administration team, his close circle around him, have a horrific history of dealing with health emergencies.
An article by Elizabeth Vaughn on Redstate provides the following information timeline:
In April of 2009, the Swine Flu (H1N1 virus) was found in the US in both animals and humans.
Obama made a brief announcement, less than two minutes. He requested $1.5 billion from congress and told people to wash their hands. Then he and his administration turned their attention to Obamacare and forgot about the Swine Flu H1N1 pandemic.
Meanwhile he assured the government would do whatever was necessary to keep Americans safe. But it didn’t happen.
By the time October rolled around, six months later, millions of Americans had been infected, more than 20,000 hospitalized and more than 1,000 died.
Only then did Obama declare a medical emergency.
About this health failure, there was not a peep out of the Democrat Party or Democrat media.
Beyond incompetence and negligence related to the H1N1 pandemic, something else was going on in the Obama administration which led to the shortage of breathing safety masks today: the Obama administration looked the other way, while Chinese economic policies and industry destroyed American manufacturing.
Factory after factory closed in the US between 2009 and 2016, the reign of destruction by the Obama Administration. Factories shut here in the US relocated in China or simply shut their doors, as China took over the manufacturing of many industries. Electronics, textiles, clothing, shoes and yes, you guessed it, the consumable medical products industry, such as face masks collapsed and manufacturing moved to China.
After eight years of Obama there was only one major factory left in the US which was producing face masks. And this factory produces about 5% of the need. The rest has to be imported.
It basically comes from China. Even a brand which is American, such as 3M, has most of its mask products produced abroad, and specifically in China.
President Trump’s administration has been working from day one to bring back industry to America. And has had good success. But the American consumable medical products, and specifically the face mask market is heavily entrenched in China.
The Chinese government provides subsidies to Chinese factories producing the masks. Because of the subsidies and the low labor cost for Chinese factories, the price of manufacturing protective masks and clothing in the US would cost several times more than simply purchasing them in China.
Now when China needs every mask it can produce for it’s own COVID-19 pandemic, there is a problem as the pandemic spreads in the US. The ear loop and resporator mask shelves are empty in America, both for health professionals and the entire US population.
What we face in America today, is a Democrat / Democratic Socialist Party which is out of control. And which is working to sabotage the work of the president and his administration, no matter what the cost to the American people. Crushing them politically in the elections of 2020 is a good way out of this situation.
Dr Joel S Holmes, is an engineer. He worked for several years in the development of antimicrobial equipment for a leading US technology company. And as an industrial intelligence analyst, helping US companies keep their technology safe. He has provided consulting to financial institutions including a major stock exchange, how to prepare for and get through a viral pandemic with simple non-medical steps to add to the medical effort. Now that same information is available to readers for use at home with his new book on the Corona Pandemic.
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