Nick Miroff | April 1, 2020
As coronavirus hot spots flare from coast to coast, the demand for safety equipment — also known as personal protective equipment (PPE) — is both immediate and widespread, with health officials, hospital executives and governors saying that their shortages are critical and that health-care workers are putting their lives at risk while trying to help the surging number of patients.
A stockpile of 1.5 million expired N95 masks that U.S. Customs and Border Protection has in storage will be distributed to the Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, CBP said in a statement. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidelines for the safe use of masks with expiration dates that have passed, potentially leaving their elastic bands too loose to form a proper face seal.
Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.) said this week she and other lawmakers were told some of the expired CBP masks would be given to hospitals.
“Officials confirmed that the masks would indeed go to healthcare workers and be prioritized by highest need such as NY and NJ. I will follow up to make sure this happens!” she tweeted Sunday.