On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom’s office confirmed that the $1 billion BYD mask deal that will bring a total of 150 million N95 masks to California finally won federal approval and will be shipped soon.
The mask deal with the Chinese BYD company has been delayed numerous times since early April when the deal was first announced. The masks encountered many safety and health quality issues and were twice struck down from certification by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The mask dealer also encountered numerous charges of being profitable for dealer makers and of company favoritism. Within California, many were upset that the Newsom administration had initially refused to show the BYD contract and that California had to reduce it’s safety and quality standards to get masks, following the lead of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
However, with the NIOSH finally certifying BYD N95 masks on the third try, the final hurdle was lifted before final delivery to California.
Governor Gavin Newsom had been pushing for certification due to a high need for masks for health care workers and responders since the first road blocks appeared in April. On Monday, a triumphant Newsom issued a press release over clearing federal approval and for finally getting the masks that had been originally due in California more than a month ago.
“Providing California’s front-line health care workers and responders the protective equipment they need is a critical part of our response to COVID-19. This new supply of N95 masks, as well as the surgical masks this contract has already provided, are game-changing and play a crucial role in our state’s public safety and reopening strategy,” said Governor Gavin Newsom.
While happy that the masks are finally coming, critics have pointed out that other options have been available all along, and the several months of delays could have been avoided, along with other prior complaints such as company favoritism and overall cost.
“If we had gone with a more localized manufacturer or decided on another company, those masks could have been here in May,” noted healthcare supply specialist James Griggs Jr. “The deal itself also could have avoided unnecessary measures, like paying $500 million up front. Most companies would not have done that.”
“California went with a cheap option, which they admitted when they finally released the contract terms, nd we paid the penalty. We will have masks now, and the contract allows California possibly more in the future, but anybody who has ever had to get hospital supplies before knows that there is always another way. California just hit the panic button early.”
“But we do have a steady supply of masks now in case a second wave hits. I’ll give them that.”
According to the Governor’s press release, the BYD N95 masks will be ready to go in California in the ‘coming days‘.
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