Clothing company Hanes to produce face masks for health care workers amid coronavirus crisis

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Sunday, March 22, 2020
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President Trump said FEMA is active across the United States.

Clothing company Hanes will begin producing masks for health care professionals on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.

The company announced Saturday that it will use its apparel manufacturing facilities for the production of cotton masks, and their design has been approved by the Federal Drug Administration for use.

"By way of example, Hanes ... [is] retrofitting manufacturing capabilities in large sections of the plants to produce masks and they're in the process right now," Trump said at Saturday's coronavirus task force briefing.

This comes as hospitals across the country face dwindling supplies of medical equipment.

Hospitals have been rationing supplies and asking staff to reuse masks until they become soiled. Columbia University's chief surgeon, Dr. Craig Smith, said hospitals in the New York-Presbyterian system are burning through about 40,000 masks a day -- about 10 times the normal amount.

Staff at a Detroit hospital even began creating homemade face masks for workers.

RELATED: What is the Defense Production Act?

Hanes, which self-manufactures a majority of its products, also announced that it will work closely with Fruit of the Loom and other apparel brands to share product specifications and patterns for the FDA-approved masks.

Meanwhile, distilleries intended for whiskey and rum are instead turning out hand sanitizers and disinfectants.

RELATED: Distillery shifts from making spirits to hand sanitizer due to COVID-19