The US President made the scathing comments about 3M co on Twitter after invoking the Defense Production Act to get the company to ramp up face mask production. He tweeted: “We hit 3M hard today after seeing what they were doing with their Masks. ‘P Act’ all the way.’ Big surprise to many in government as to what they were doing – will have a big price to pay!”
“Hopefully they’ll be able to do what they are supposed to do,” he said at an earlier White House briefing.
3M produce supplies for healthcare professionals, as well as other goods under their brands including Scotch, Post-It and Nexcare.
The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
CEO Mike Roman stated on Tuesday that 3M is in talk with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to double global production of N95 masks to 2 billion a year in 12 months.
“The prioritisation and distribution of all of our N95 respirators are being coordinated in close partnership with FEMA, and we are directly embedded with them at their headquarters to help streamline decision making and action,” Roman said.
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said at the briefing, “We’ve had some issues making sure that all of the production that 3M does around the world, enough of it is coming back here to the right places.”
Due to the current coronavirus crisis, there is a shortage of N95 masks among healthcare workers.
By invoking the Defence Production Act, President Trump has the authority to increase industrial production of essential supplies for national security and other reasons.
3M has also committed to team up with Ford to manufacture thousands of PAPRs or air-powered respirators.
While PAPRs are different from N95 face masks, they are still vital in the fight against coronavirus.
N95 masks are among the best-quality masks as they filter out at least 95 percent of micro particles, best protecting healthcare workers from contracting the virus.
As well as boosting face mask production, Mr Trump asked manufacturers to produce ventilators.
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The US President received confirmation from firms including Medtronic, General Electric, Hill-Rom, ResMed, Royal Philips and Vyaire Medical.
“I am grateful to these and other domestic manufacturers for ramping up their production of ventilators during this difficult time,” Trump said.
“Today’s order will save lives by removing obstacles in the supply chain that threaten the rapid production of ventilators.”
Mr Trump said ordering these supplies is essential to “ensure that our health care systems are able to surge capacity and capability to respond to the spread of COVID-19.”
He said it “is critical that all health and medical resources needed to respond to the spread of COVID-19 are properly distributed to the nation’s health care systems and others that need them most at this time.”
The U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention will circulate regulations in the next few days.
One of the guidelines could order Americans to wear face masks when leaving their homes.
The news comes as the US positions itself as the country with most confirmed coronavirus cases.
A total of 244,826 have been infected in the US, while the death toll in the country rises to 6,059.
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