President Trump has called on private industry to ramp up and help fight the coronavirus. Many have and more will if this crisis drags out longer than hoped.
We really don’t know what the future brings but the answer for MyPillow’s founder Mike Lindell was to immediately jump into action and start making masks needed for front line health workers.
In a tweet released earlier, MyPillow announced that they are “now manufacturing face masks for hospitals across the country!”
America is facing a mask shortage and manufacturers are doing their best to ramp up but we have to remember this is unprecedented and there will be some hurdles along the way.
This report from NPR helps explain why we have a shortage:
Mike Bowen’s been a very busy man. He’s executive vice president of Texas-based Prestige Ameritech, one of the few manufacturers of respirators and surgical face masks still making them in the United States.
“I’ve got requests for maybe a billion and a half masks, if you add it up,” he says. That’s right — 1.5 billion.
Since the coronavirus started spreading in January, Bowen says he’s gotten at least 100 calls and emails a day.
“Normally, I don’t get any,” he says.
Bowen is at the center of a major problem that the coronavirus has made crystal clear: There aren’t enough domestic manufacturers for critical medical supplies such as face masks. And even if production ramps up, it’s unlikely to be enough in the current outbreak.
Usually, businesses want orders to spike — they hope customers line up for their products.
But Bowen is not pleased.
His company simply can’t keep up with demand. 3M — one of the biggest mask makers — is in the same predicament. It says it’s stepping up production at its factories around the world, but it can’t fulfill all the new orders…
… In response, the Trump administration is looking at ways to rapidly expand domestic production, but the economics of the face-mask business makes that difficult.
This is a cycle familiar to Bowen. During what he calls “peacetime,” when there are no outbreaks, there are few buyers of masks. During an epidemic, there’s suddenly limitless demand.
MyPillow is excited to announce that we are now manufacturing face masks for hospitals across the country! pic.twitter.com/KcW4L7i9WC
— MyPillow (@MyPillowUSA) March 24, 2020
“Imagine if, all at once, millions of people wanted to skateboard,” Bowen says.
“The skateboarding industry is not set up for spikes like that, and neither is the mask-making industry.”