March 24, 2020
The 3M Company will send 500,000 respirators—face masks with protection suitable for a healthcare system deluged by COVID-19—to New York City and Seattle as the two cities combat the COVID-19 outbreak, its CEO announced in a statement released on Sunday, March 22.
While U.S. government agencies have not been specific about the sources and numbers of crucial, urgently needed, medical supplies that are being manufactured and distributed nationwide, 3M CEO and Chairman Mike Roman said,” … we’ve ramped up to maximum production levels of N95 respirators and doubled our global output to a rate of more than 1.1 billion per year, or nearly 100 million per month. In the United States we are producing 35 million respirators per month; of these, more than 90% are now designated for healthcare workers, with the remaining deployed to other industries also critical in this pandemic, including energy, food and pharmaceutical companies.
Already, he said, “… more than 500,000 respirators are on the way from our South Dakota plant to two of the more critically impacted areas, New York and Seattle, with arrivals expected starting tomorrow [Monday, March 23]. We are also ready to expedite additional shipments across the country.”
The company is aiming to double its global capacity to 2 billion within the next year. 3M is working with the U.S. and other governments to see if other manufacturing strategies or partnerships can expedite doubling the capacity.
Roman also said the company has maximized the production of other products related to fighting the virus, like hand sanitizers and disinfectants..
“We are all in this together, and 3M will continue to do all we can to help protect lives and get the world through this crisis,” he said in the release.
3M’s announcement came as state leaders are calling on the federal government to access medical supplies as hospitals and other health care facilities experience a lack of equipment because of the growing number of cases, The Hill reported—noting that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) called on the federal government Sunday to order the manufacturing of medical supplies, so states do not have to battle each other to get access.
New York and Washington states have been hit hard by the virus, with more than 15,000 cases and almost 2,000 cases, respectively, The Hill said.. New York State has seen the most deaths with 117; followed by Washington State, with 94, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Research contact: @3M