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White House: US construction companies should donate N95 masks to hospitals

Vice President Pence and the Surgeon General have repeatedly urged Americans to leave the masks for medical professionals.

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is urging U.S. construction companies to donate their inventories of safety masks to hospitals and forgo new orders as the nation battles the coronavirus pandemic.

Vice President Mike Pence said the single-use N95 masks, which are designed to filter 95 percent of airborne particles and commonly used in the construction industry, are "perfectly acceptable" for hospital use.

Pence, who is heading up the White House Coronavirus Task Force, visited the Minnesota headquarters of 3M, the maker of the N95 mask, earlier this month to discuss the production increase.

Pence and Surgeon General Jerome Adams have said the average American does not need to go out and buy a mask. They have urged Americans to leave the masks for medical professionals.

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Credit: AP
Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a press briefing with the coronavirus task force, at the White House, Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Washington, as President Donald Trump looks on. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)