U.S. technology companies have donated a huge number of N95 particle filtering face masks to hospitals and health professionals. While they used the old adage that no good deed goes unpunished, some Americans have lashed out at these companies.
Some of this has come in the form of hostility to tech giants that is more appropriate here for government officials. And sure, frontline workers in this pandemic shouldn’t have torely on Silicon Valley for face masks“But we are missing the fact that Silicon Valley companies are stepping up to supply supplies because mishandling by the government of the response to a COVID-19 outbreak, excessive regulation of who can manufacture medical supplies, and generally poor pandemic preparation by the federal authorities hardly hampers these tech companies.
Again, this anger is misplaced. Mask donations come from such as Facebook, Apple, Salesforce, Tesla, Flexport, Intel and IBM, all with headquarters or activities in the Bay Area. That is an area full of fires, especially nowadays.
Last year, California changed health regulations to oblige employers in certain risk areas for wildfire to provide voluntary N95 respirators for workers at risk. The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board Regulation, effective in August 2019 and after a year on sunset.
The types of masks required in California are not surgical N95 masks, but masks that block dust, smoke, and construction by-products. Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration relaxed its rules by saying that the nonsurgical N95 masks should be used by health professionals and medical institutions.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook’s mask reserve was ‘bought in case the wildfires continue.’ (He also said the company is trying to “donate much more.”)
Our teams at Apple have worked to find supplies for healthcare providers to combat COVID-19. We donate millions of masks for health professionals in the US and Europe. To all the frontline heroes, we thank you.
– Tim Cook (@tim_cook) March 21, 2020
Thank you to our Ohana for supplying our first 9000 masks to UCSF. We are working hard on all our resources and relationships to deliver another 5 million masks this week plus additional critical personal protective equipment. We should all focus on obtaining personal protective equipment from our local hospitals. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/y7mgL0KhrT
– Marc Benioff (@Benioff) March 23, 2020
Do these donations even come remotely to solve all our mask problems? No. But they can still save many lives and prevent even more infections.
We need private and large private companies, state and federal authorities, charity groups, and countless individuals to work together to make it through. Now is not the time for the kind of reactionary, anti-market, anti-Big Tech bias that still too often comes from both the political left and right in the wake of COVID-19.
A federal stimulus package was fought in Congress yesterday, calling for $ 2 trillion in direct aid expenditure. Senator Chuck Schumer (D – N.Y.) said the package included “steroid unemployment benefits”.
Economic adviser to the White House Larry Kudlow said the total price of the economic stimulus plan will be about $ 6 trillion, once you charge $ 4 trillion on Federal Reserve loans, making it the largest economic stimulus plan approved in US history.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we are done,” said Eric Ueland, White House legislative director, just before 1:00 am after leaving Senate head Mitch McConnell, leader of the senate, after negotiations since last lasted around the clock on Friday. ‘We have a deal.’
– Manu Raju (@mkraju) March 25, 2020
Stay tuned for more Reason comment on the package later today. For now, here are some thoughts from Rep. Justin Amash (I-Vt.):
This two part deal is a raw deal for the people. It does far too little for those who need the most help, while providing hundreds of billions in corporate welfare, inhibiting massively growing government, inhibiting economic adjustment and widening the gap between rich and poor.
– Justin Amash (@justinamash) March 25, 2020
And watch Tuesday’s interview with Billy Binion with Amash about the idea of scrapping all Americans for direct checks.
Prisons and prisons release people incarcerated for non-violent crimes, as the facilities face COVID-19 outbreaks. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to release 300 people from Rikers Island and at least 1,700 prisoners have already been released in Los Angeles County.
“Thousands of older federal prisoners are locked up in prisons that could become greenhouses for COVID-19, and supporters and members of Congress say the Trump administration needs to act quickly to get them out of the danger zone,” ReasonC.J. Ciaramella yesterday. On Tuesday, criminal groups and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle – not to mention the prisoners themselves – urged the Trump administration to take advantage of the existing policy of compassionate release, as well as massive pardon or executive orders to safeguard federal prisoners. “
Dozens of people, both workers and prisoners, tested positive for COVID-19 on Rikers.
Many have been forcibly cramped in tight spaces. They do not have reliable access to soap or disinfectant. This is a humanitarian crisis.
Decarceral action must become an urgent priority. https://t.co/IDbNN3etew
– Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 25, 2020
Related: “Why Coronavirus in Prisons Should Affect All of Us. “
Gangs in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas forced a closing at 8pm tonight. The statement reads: “If the government does the wrong thing, organized crime does it” pic.twitter.com/dK0wtAR3KA
– Andrew Cesare (@AndrewCesare) March 23, 2020
Survey: 23% of American adults say the new coronavirus was intentionally developed in a laboratory. 6% say it was a laboratory accident. 1% say it’s all made up. https://t.co/NvUgu0z7Ud
– Jesse Walker (@notjessewalker) March 25, 2020
The Trump administration is debating whether or not to postpone import tariffs for 3 months, sources say https://t.co/lfu4tmzRKn
– Bloomberg (@business) March 24, 2020