WEDNESDAY, April 1, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- For the first time since February, imported N95 medical masks are arriving in the United States, but they are not nearly enough to meet demand as COVID-19 cases climb.
The United States has a critical shortage of medical supplies, many of which come from China. Prior to this week, the last time that medical-grade N95 masks from China arrived in the United States was on Feb. 19, the Associated Press reported.
Recently, 24 pallets of masks made at a 3M factory in Singapore arrived at the port of Los Angeles; 130,000 masks from Southeast Asia were on a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)-booked cargo plane that landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport; and the humanitarian aid group DirectRelief expects 80,000 masks to soon arrive at Los Angeles International Airport.
In a written statement, FEMA said that it has established an "air bridge" to quickly bring medical supplies to the United States from factories in Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, India, Honduras, and Mexico, the AP reported. The flight that landed at Kennedy Airport was the first of those FEMA flights. Along with the 130,000 N95 masks, the 80-ton shipment included 1.8 million face masks and gowns, 10.3 million gloves, and thousands of thermometers destined for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Other FEMA flights arrived Monday in Chicago with supplies to be shipped to other states, and another 19 flights are scheduled, with more flights being added daily.