The Wall Street Journal reported on Feb. 4 that domestic production of protective N95 and surgical masks is now folding as hospitals are again buying from less expensive products abroad.
The article states that “About 70% of the 100 or so U.S. mask companies launched during the pandemic have closed, according to industry estimates. U.S. production of N95 and surgical masks fell by more than 90% in 2023 from 2021 levels after elimination of masking requirements knocked out consumer demand.”
The federal government spent an estimated $1.5 billion to companies building U.S. plants to make synthetic rubber gloves, N95 respirators, surgical masks and other protection gear, according to the article. Many of the plants now are producing below capacity or are unfinished.
Hospitals were required to resume purchases from foreign suppliers once supply issues dissipated. Additionally, states have thrown away millions of dollars of personal protective equipment.
The Wall Street Journal has the article.