TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis says the number one logistical challenge facing Florida is getting enough N95 protective masks.
Millions have been ordered with delivery set, only to find the masks went elsewhere.
The governor has banned elective surgeries to free hospital beds and protective equipment, but on Tuesday, the state’s emergency management director tweeted to the mask making company 3M, asking them to avoid middleman distributors and to ship masks directly to hospitals, first responders or the state.
Getting the masks are a continuing logistical challenge. Some have likened it to a Ponzi scheme, with brokers and distributors selling masks to the highest bidder.
DeSantis was hesitant to call it criminal.
“Look, I don’t want to say that it is because I don’t have first hand knowledge, but I can tell you that it’s shady as hell, that’s for sure,” said DeSantis.
The governor believes that if the staff of a Broward nursing home had been wearing the masks, deaths could have been prevented.
"Obviously hurts the health care workers for sure. Some of the staff and workers were infected, and they were sick and they shouldn’t have been allowed to go in there. Having a mask on I think would be something that potentially ward off infections for our most vulnerable,” said DeSantis.
Mask maker 3M says it’s doubled its manufacturing capacity. It’s now producing 100 million masks a month.
The inability to get certainty in the shipment of masks is pitting governors against governors trying to protect their states.
On Tuesday, the President said during his briefing that governors should come to him for logistical and supply support.
DeSantis talked to President Trump on Wednesday morning, but it’s unclear if the issue was discussed.