3M is making more N95 masks than ever as global Covid cases rise, CEO says

3M is Making More N95 Masks Than Ever as Global Covid Cases Rise, CEO Says

(October 26, 2020) - 3M has continued to ramp up production of its N95 respirator masks, Chairman and CEO Mike Roman told CNBC as the coronavirus pandemic intensifies again in parts of the world.

“We are bringing capacity on. We are making more N95 respirators than ever, and we’ll continue to add some capacity as we go into the end of the year, into next year,” Roman said on “Squawk on the Street.”

The medical-grade masks are widely seen as the highest-quality option to protect against infection, and they have been in high demand throughout the health crisis. 3M began increasing its production of N95s in late January, just weeks after the novel coronavirus emerged late last year in China. The industrial giant is now on track to produce 2 billion N95 masks this year, about half of which will be in the United States, according to Roman.

Even so, shortages of personal protective equipment for health-care workers, including masks, have remained present during the pandemic. The issue is taking on renewed salience in the U.S. now as hospitalizations from Covid-19 are rising in 36 states.

Public health experts have stressed the importance of people wearing face coverings to slow transmission of the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the general public should not wear N95s in order to reserve the supply for health-care workers and first responders. Instead, the agency recommends people wear cloth face coverings. - (CNBC)