California Orders Millions More Masks With Virus Cases at Record

With California now recording more coronavirus cases than any other state, Governor Gavin Newsom said he will extend a contract with China’sBYD Co. for hundreds of millions of masks and warned that efforts to contain the pandemic will stretch into next year.

California is burning through 46 million masks per month but needs more, with domestic companies still unable to supply them at the scale required, Newsom said in a news briefing Wednesday. He’s extending a contract with automaker BYD to supply another 120 million N95 masks and 300 million surgical procedure masks.

California had previously contracted with BYD to supply 500 million masks total. Newsom wants to see more competition from domestic suppliers.

“We need to go big and continue to be bold in our procurement,” Newsom said.

His comments came as California on Wednesday reported a record 12,807 new confirmed infections, bringing the state’s total to 413,576 since the pandemic began. That tops the official toll of 408,806 in New York, the initial U.S. epicenter of the virus.

California, with about 40 million residents, has roughly twice the population of New York, and its deaths from the virus, 7,870, remain far below the East Coast state’s grim tally of 25,068, according to websites run by each state. Still, the shift shows how the pandemic is changing as the virus sweeps across the U.S., with California’s cases doubling in the past month alone.

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