State governors are taking to smuggling PPE to get around the feds

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is technically a Republican, in as much as calling himself a "Republican" helped him to garner votes in the western part of the state, which is less Deep Blue than the Metro Boston Area. But as far as I've ever been able to tell, Baker has never demonstrated any capacity for principles or beliefs beyond "being governor." I often like to say that he makes Mitt Romney look like he has a spine. In perhaps the most painfully Boston sentence of my life, I once met him at a Dropkick Murphys fundraiser while he shared a bucket of Coronitas with Mike Napoli from the Red Sox, and trust me — he's terrible.

So imagine my surprise when I learned that Baker had recruited Patriots' President Robert Kraft — a frequent Trump ally who was recently connected to a sex trafficking scandal in Florida —  and essentially commandeered the football team's private jet to fly to China in order to obtain the vitally necessary PPE (including N95 masks) that was otherwise being denied to the state by the spiteful federal government.

From The Boston Globe:

The journey began, in the governor’s telling, roughly two weeks ago, when the federal government confiscated a shipment of more than 3 million N95 masks at the Port of New York and New Jersey that Massachusetts had arranged to buy.

"I just started reaching out to anybody and everybody I knew, trying to find some other path,” Baker recounted in an interview.

Read the rest

DIY Catface N95 mask cover, whiskers and all

Anyone who's ever gone to Burning Man is undoubtedly already familiar with the N95 mask, the particle filters that also protect from inhaling playa dust. And Burners are also familiar with "radical self expression." So, it comes as no surprise that the happy mutants over at Burner-friendly Grassy Knoll Industries have taken it upon themselves to make an otherwise plain-looking mask better — by turning it into a "Catface." Whiskers and all. They describe it as "Quarantine Couture." Even if you have no plans to "cattify" a mask, you should go read the instructions because parts of it are pretty funny. Cats not your thing? There are other fun mask ideas in their "Social Distancing Can Be Fun" Facebook page. Read the rest

Good news, everyone: 3M is cranking out N95 masks, half a million on their way to Seattle and New York

3M has announced that they are now producing 35 million N95 masks per month in the US and have 500,000 masks on the way to the critically impacted cities of New York and Seattle.

The term respirator in the press release is throwing some readers on Twitter off, thinking they mean "ventilators." But it's good to know that they are cranking the N95s out and "have accelerated investments to expand our global capacity even more. We anticipate being able to nearly double our capacity again, to almost 2 billion respirators globally, within the next 12 months. We are working with the U.S. and other governments, investigating alternate manufacturing scenarios, and exploring coalitions with other companies to increase capacity further."

Read the full PR here.

[H/t Alberto Gaitán] Read the rest

San Francisco Uber driver distributing filter masks to passengers

At times this week, wildfires made San Francisco's air the worst in the world, and the city's stores have largely sold out of the N95 filter masks that make the air barely breathable, leading to at least one enterprising Uber driver selling the masks out of his car (at a substantial markup: $5 each, compared with $1.30 each on Amazon in ten-packs); other drivers are giving the masks away for free. (via /.) Read the rest