NYT | N95 Gray Market
Inside the Chaotic, Cutthroat Gray Market for N95 Masks
As the country heads into a dangerous new phase of the pandemic, the government’s management of the P.P.E. crisis has left the private sector still straining to meet anticipated demand.
…But as the coronavirus rapidly rode the channels of international commerce between continents, it turned the advantages of globalization into vulnerabilities. Right when the United States needed masks most, there were severe shortages. Chinese production had ground to a halt as the country locked down to stop the virus’s spread — and just-in-time supply chains dependent on their manufacturing quickly disintegrated. Baystate Health was consuming about 15 times more respirators monthly than during pre-pandemic times, and had no easy way of finding new suppliers. It would take months for American companies to build out new production lines…