SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Gov. Gavin Newsom says the state will spend nearly $1 billion to purchase up to 200 million masks a month during the COVID-19 outbreak. Newsom made the announcement Tuesday during an appearance on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show.
The masks will be made overseas. Newsom said the state has signed multiple contracts with an unidentified consortium of nonprofits and a California-based manufacturer to obtain the masks.
State taxpayers will pay $495 million upfront. Other payments will be made as shipments arrive. The Newsom administration estimates total payments will be $990 million.
California and other states have had trouble finding enough masks during the outbreak.
Tuesday, the governor touched on the announcement saying the state will team up with a California nonprofit, a California manufacturer with suppliers in Asia, and a company sterilizing used masks to make more than 200 million masks a month.
Newsom said, “We were going out getting 2 million here, 500,000 there another 5,000 there, competing against other states, competing against the federal government. We decided, enough with the small ball. Let’s use our purchasing power, let's go to scale. We built a consortium of non-profits and a large manufacturer with appropriate contacts in Asia.”
These masks will not only help supply hospitals across the state, but masks will also be sent to other states all across the country.
The 200 million masks per month will be comprised of 150 million N95 masks while the other 50 million will be surgical masks.