ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – President Donald Trump has ordered Minnesota-based 3M to produce and sell as many medical-grade masks as the Federal Emergency Management Agency says it needs.
Trump invoked the Defense Production Act in an effort to speed up the distribution of desperately needed hospital masks.
3M CEO Mike Roman said earlier this week that the company is working closely with FEMA and is on track to double global production of N95 masks to 2 billion a year in 12 months.
Roman said 3M will boost production by 40% to 50 million masks per month in about 60 days.
Medical professionals need the N95 masks because they filter out at least 95% of micro particulates and give doctors and nurses the best chance against the coronavirus.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.