“We still depend on China” for COVID protective gear; Representative Stephen Lynch urges local and state governments to strengthen the US PPE market

Representative Stephen Lynch on Tuesday urged state and local governments, schools and businesses to use federal COVID-19 assistance to purchase personal protective equipment purchased and produced in the United States, arguing that the dependence continues on suppliers in China represent “a loophole in our national security.”

Lynch said companies can add rubber bands to masks and say they were assembled in the United States, but if the materials came from overseas that doesn’t eliminate the vulnerability we have. We still depend on China to provide the materials needed to protect our citizens. “

Lynch made the remarks while celebrating the rise of coronavirus vaccinations at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, which was visited on Tuesday by Governor Charlie Baker, Senator Ed Markey, Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Bob Fenton, Acting Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

On Monday, Lynch and Markey visited the Shawmut Corporation facility in West Bridgewater, where the more than century-old textile maker makes N-95 masks.

“We are asking everyone who receives money to buy PPE in the United States,” Lynch said, noting that schools, for example, received around $ 130 billion in the US bailout 1 , $ 9 trillion from President Joe Biden. “Support this market that we are trying to create here in the United States. There are companies all over the United States trying to provide products for the protection of American citizens, but that cannot happen if we keep buying products from China. We have to pull ourselves together. “

Lynch noted pending legislation over PPE supplies and shortages can help correct the problem, but for now, lawmakers are calling on states, cities, towns and transit systems to “voluntarily use this purchasing power to establish this system of PPE of origin and produced in the country. It is a loophole in our national security.

In January, The Washington Post reported that China donated around $ 12 million in medical supplies to the United States in March and April. The world’s leading exporter of medical equipment, China has also served as a source of equipment for America-based international companies, such as Minnesota-based 3M. The company imported 10 million N95 masks from its Chinese factory as the pandemic escalated last year, before an emerging supplier market grew in the United States as manufacturers ramped up production, reported the post.

Since March 19, the Food and Drug Administration Still Reports Nationwide Shortages certain test supplies, masks, gloves, surgical gowns, respirators and ventilators.

The FDA says many items on the shortage list are expected to be in “limited supply” for the duration of the pandemic, but “public and private mitigation measures appear to reduce constraints on the supply chain.”

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