What If Those Face Masks Everyone Is Hoarding Don’t Work? Can The Companies Be Held Liable?
There are two types of face masks and only one kind is protected against liability suits. Companies are asking Congress to protect them as the country faces a mask shortage.
The Wall Street Journal:
Demand For Face Masks Is Booming, But Makers Have A Nagging Concern: Legal Liability
Demand for N95 face masks—the kind that keeps out at least 95% of particles—is surging amid more U.S. coronavirus cases. But some mask manufacturers worry they could be held liable if someone gets sick anyway. The companies have been seeking for years to get Congress to pass legislation giving them immunity from liability lawsuits, including in a current bill to authorize about $8 billion to be spent on coronavirus readiness. The bill, approved Thursday, didn’t include the provision. (Burton, 3/5)
The Washington Post:
Washington State Requests N95 Respirators From Strategic National Stockpile To Fight Coronavirus
As coronavirus cases in Washington state mounted and the country’s first death was announced Saturday, health authorities scrambled to get more specialized masks for front-line clinicians who need to protect themselves from the highly contagious disease. Washington state authorities sent an urgent request for 233,000 respirators and 200,000 surgical masks to be released from the federal government’s Strategic National Stockpile. The stockpile is a repository of drugs and supplies for deployment in major public health emergencies, such as an infectious disease outbreak. (Sun and Goldstein, 3/5)
Texas Firm's Safety Gear Flies Off Shelves On Coronavirus Fears
The global coronavirus outbreak may have erased $5 trillion in world stock values last week, but it is providing a windfall for Roman Zrazhevskiy and his family-owned company that makes and distributes gas masks and other protective gear. The demand for respirators, hazmat suits and other safety equipment, fueled by growing concern about a possible global COVID-19 pandemic, is dwarfing a January sales spike triggered by a U.S. air strike that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, which prompted fears of retaliation. (3/5)
The United States is not alone in facing medical equipment shortages that make it harder to fight the epidemic —
The Associated Press:
WHO Racing To Send Supplies To Countries As New Virus Surges
In an open expanse of desert in Dubai, seven World Health Organization workers are racing to sort, package and send out hundreds of shipments of medical supplies to countries around the world battling a new virus that has spread fast, disrupting life for millions of people. Demand for protective medical supplies like masks, gloves and gowns is skyrocketing as the virus spreads far beyond China, where the illness originated late last year. Worldwide, some 95,000 people in about 80 countries have been infected. (3/5)