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DoJ, HHS To Distribute About 192,000 Confiscated N95 Respirator Masks

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The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are distributing personal protective equipment (PPE) which are confiscated, including about 192,000 N95 respirator to the frontline health care workers in New York and New Jersey who are combating the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

More than half a million of PPE and medical supplies were confiscated from hoarders and price gougers during an enforcement operation conducted by the DoJ's COVID-19 Hoarding and Price Gouging Task Force on Monday.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) discovered the supplies and alerted the HHS which confiscated them and handed it over for distribution in the U.S. However, the HHS will pay the owner of the hoarded equipment pre-COVID-19 fair market value for the supplies.

Apart from the N95 masks, the hoarded products included 598,000 medical grade gloves and 130,000 surgical masks, procedure masks, N100 masks, surgical gowns, disinfectant towels, particulate filters, bottles of hand sanitizer, and bottles of spray disinfectant.

The U.S. has been facing a severe shortage of PPE such as N95 mask, which blocks at least 95 percent of very small test particles, as the coronavirus cases skyrocket in the U.S., and the doctors, nurses other frontline healthcare workers and volunteers are forced to work without masks or reuse them.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC does not recommend that the general public wear N95 respirator masks to protect themselves from such illness. They are, rather for healthcare workers.

Across the United States, confirmed coronavirus cases have exceeded 245,500 and the death toll has risen to over 6,000, as of this writing. New York continues to be the worst-hit state in the U.S. Worldwide, more than 1,026,900 people have been infected and over 53,900 people have died of the novel coronavirus so far, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

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