During a March 17 White House briefing, Vice President Mike Pence urged construction companies to donate respiratory masks to hospitals and health centers amid fears such facilities will run out of essential medical equipment as COVID-19 infects more Americans, according to the New York Post.
“We would make one specific request, and that is we would urge construction companies to donate their inventory of N95 masks to your local hospital and forgo additional orders of those industrial masks,” Pence said. “Because of what the president asked to be included in legislation moving through the Congress today, those industrial masks that they use on construction sites are perfectly acceptable for health care workers to be protected from a respiratory disease.”
The industrial-strength masks typically are worn by drywall workers and painters so they can protect themselves from fine airborne particles. The N95 designation means the masks can block at least 95% of particles in the air.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend people wear the N95 masks to keep from being infected by the virus.