Go learn this ProPublica story a couple of scheme to relabel non-medical masks for emergency employees
Because the coronavirus unfold throughout the US this spring, authorities warned folks to not buy N95 respirator masks, lest they contribute to a scarcity of the masks for medical personnel. The N95 respirators are thought-about the simplest masks to filter out droplets within the air which will transmit the virus. Websites like Amazon suspended gross sales of N95 masks to most people and cracked down on sellers who tried to promote counterfeit variations.
However a ProPublica investigation uncovered an operation in Texas that was repackaging masks marked as “prohibited” for medical use into unlabeled luggage. A person who answered an advert for a TaskRabbit gig advised ProPublica what he witnessed:
…5 – 6 different “Taskers” incomes about $20 an hour had been ripping Chinese language masks out of plastic luggage and stuffing them into new ones that had been an identical however for one doubtlessly lethal distinction. The outdated packages had been labeled in all caps “MEDICAL USE PROHIBITED,” which means not for use by medical doctors and nurses who want the strongest safety from tiny particles carrying the novel coronavirus. The brand new luggage, meant to make their technique to Texas hospitals, merely omitted that warning.
Based on ProPublica, the folks behind the operation— a Silicon Valley investor and his enterprise associate— used TaskRabbit and funds over Venmo to relabel the masks with the intent of promoting them to emergency employees in Texas. They’d a stockpile of KN95 masks made in China, that are just like the N95s made by 3M, however which frequently fail to go regulatory inspection to be used within the US.
The 6-foot stack of packing containers had been labeled as coming from a Chinese language producer, Guangzhou Aiyinmei Co. Ltd., which had been recognized by the FDA as one of many firms producing ineffective KN95s. The masks filter as little as 39% of particles, in accordance with testing by the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. They’re so ineffective that Canada issued a recall. The FDA had rapidly permitted them and others for well being care use firstly of the pandemic, nevertheless it modified its thoughts final month, at the same time as tens of millions of the masks circulated within the US.
There was apparently some confusion about whether or not KN95 masks had been allowed within the US or not, because the FDA had modified its steering on their use. In the end, thanks partially to ProPublica reporter J. David Swaine’s probing, the operation didn’t promote any of its repackaged masks to clients within the US. However the article exhibits the gaping holes in our medical provide chain and is an instance of the type of dogged reporting on infuriating matters that’s ProPublica’s trademark. Go test it out right here.