A massive stockpile of 39 million N95 masks is being sold to American hospitals and local governments — about 27 million more than the US emergency stockpile

bpietsch@businessinsider.com (Bryan Pietsch)
  • A union representing healthcare works said Thursday that it had located 39 million N95 masks and was connecting their supplier to hospitals and state and local governments.

  • That's more than the number of masks in the US national stockpile, which has about 12 million N95 masks and 30 million surgical masks.

  • The masks are set to be distributed in California and New York at a cost of $5 each.

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Laborers working on PFF2 respirator masks at a plant in Brazil on March 3.

REUTERS/Rahel Patrasso

A union representing healthcare workers on Thursday said it had located 39 million N95 masks and was connecting their supplier to healthcare facilities and state and local governments to protect those treating coronavirus patients.

The masks will be distributed in California and New York, according to a copy of the Service Employees International Union - United Healthcare Workers West's statement posted by the labor reporter Noam Scheiber.

The stockpile of masks is far larger than the roughly 12 million N95 masks in the US government's stockpile as of earlier this month.

The masks will cost $5 each, according to the union's statement posted by the NPR investigative reporter Tim Mak. In the statement, the union said it had "no financial interest in the transactions."

The union did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said SEIU United Healthcare Workers West itself would be selling the N95 masks. The union said Thursday that it was connecting the supplier to buyers and did not have a financial interest in the sales.

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