California Gov. Gavin Newsom went on the "Rachel Maddow Show" last night and made some news: His state has joined with a consortium of nonprofits and manufacturers to make sure the state can get its hands on 200 million medical masks a month — mostly the top-quality N95 masks that are needed to protect doctors, nurses, and other medical workers from the novel coronavirus. Here's a guy who's committed to making sure his state — and smaller states, too — have the equipment necessary to get caregivers and patients through the outbreak.

Newsom: California Has Deal For 200 Million Masks Per Month | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC youtu.be

We've been competing against other states, against other nations, against our own federal government for PPE — coveralls, masks, shields, N95 masks — and we're not waiting around any longer.

Newsom said that the consortium would be able to get "upwards of 200 million masks on a monthly basis," and that he was confident that the deals would meet not only California's needs, but eventually the needs of other western states. The masks would be manufactured overseas and imported through a California-based manufacturer and the nonprofit groups, without the need to bid against other states or FEMA for scarce supplies. As the fifth-largest economy in the world, California can do a lot for itself and its neighbors, said Newsom, returning to a phrase he has every reason to be fond of:

We decided enough is enough: Let's use the power of the purchasing power of the state of California as a nation-state. We did just that, and in the next few weeks, we're gonna see supplies at that level into the state of California, and potentially the opportunity to export some of those supplies to states in need.

The specific suppliers and nonprofits haven't yet been named, but Politico reports the high number of masks will come from

three sources to produce a total of 200 million masks monthly: a California-based nonprofit, which is providing a large quantity of masks; a California-based manufacturer with suppliers in Asia; and the third, a technology that the state is acquiring that allows N95 masks to be cleaned as many as 20 times in order to reuse them[.]

Newsom explained that the move was necessary because so far, California has already

distributed 41.4 million masks, N95 masks … and we've received just over one million from the federal government.

It's not an indictment. It's not a cheap shot. At the end of the day, they don't have the mass at the national stockpile. We were going out getting 5 million here, 500,000 there, 200,000 there — competing against other states, competing against the federal government. We decided enough of the small ball. Let's use our purchasing power. Let's go at scale.

And that's what Newsom was talking about when he said over the weekend he'd soon be making an announcement about California's medical supply chain.

It's not clear yet whether California's move will cause any disruptions in the availability of PPE to other states; it sounds like maybe not, if the consortium is sourcing the materials from its own suppliers in Asia? And we have no idea at all whether California's arrangement will somehow run afoul of FEMA's plan to manage imports and distribution of medical equipment, either. We just don't know enough about the program to say. FEMA's outline of the program makes it sound like the scheme only applies to the supplies that FEMA is helping to import for American distributors, so we hope not?

But given Donald Trump's dislike of California, and his love of bashing the state to make his followers happy, it seems worth worrying that Trump might at least try to order California's stash be confiscated and sent to real Americans, whatever FEMA's plan is actually supposed to do. Seeing that they recently sent the same number of N95 masks to Vermont and Texas, we're not sure they know either.

[Politico / FEMA]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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