WASHINGTON – The Trump administration is attempting to add 300 million N95 masks, the respiratory protective equipment essential to protecting medical workers fighting the deadly coronavirus, to the U.S. supply, a senior government official said Thursday.
In a telephone briefing to reporters, the official said the government hopes to eventually replenish its strategic national stock, which had only 13 million N95s at the outbreak, to 1 billion in total.
The government is seeking to support medical resources as part of an effort to prepare the country for future flare-ups of coronavirus cases as states across the country begin to reopen after closures aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.
Faced with a reelection election in November he hoped to win on a strong economy, President Donald Trump has encouraged states to reopen, drawing fire from critics as the death toll of the U.S. corona virus exceeded 82,000.
As the nation’s unemployment rate has risen above 14 percent, states are under pressure from their own voters to reopen.