Covid-19 Mask Shortage

Business • Media & Advertising
Facebook relaxes rules about Covid-19 advertising, will now allow ads for non-medical masks
Women wearing non-medical masks
Women wearing non-medical masks Credit: Sharon McCutcheon

Facebook announced Wednesday it relaxes its rules about coronavirus-related advertising. After banning ads for masks on its platform in March, the company will now allow advertisers to promote non-medical masks, provided they’re not marketed with medical, health or prevention claims.

“We will still maintain a temporary ban on selling medical masks, such as surgical or N95 masks, to prevent people from exploiting the pandemic for financial gain.,” said Rob Leathern, Facebook’s director of product management.

High school student raised money to purchase 12,000 masks for health care workers

15-year old Valerie Xu started raising money via crowdfunding in March for health care workers at the UT Southwestern Medical Center in Addison, Texas. She was able to raise almost $3,000 and a local company matched the raised sum. Xu then donated 12,000 masks to the medical center in which she was treated for a severe fever when she was younger.

French police seize 140,000 face masks destined for sale on the black market.
A surgical mask (left) and an FFP1 mask (right) often used to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
A surgical mask (left) and an FFP1 mask (right) often used to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Credit: (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0)

French police officers say they caught a businessman unloading 140,000 face masks from a lorry into a house in St Denis, north of Paris.

The seized masks included 5,000 FFP2 masks for use with coronavirus patients and a big number of surgical masks.

Police arrested the suspected seller, a 60-year-old man who had bought the masks in the Netherlands. A second suspect was a 46-year-old who was allegedly about to buy some of the stock to sell on.

Last month, France requisitioned all stocks and production of face masks to equip health workers.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Compulsory use of masks throughout Germany

All 16 federal states now already have compulsory masks or will introduce them within the next few days. Most of the federal states will introduce compulsory masks in local public transport from the beginning of next week (27.04). Furthermore, masks must also be worn in shopping malls. However, this is not the case in all federal states.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Berlin regional government accused U.S. government of "modern piracy"

German officials said a shipment of 200.000 N95 face masks destined for Berlin was seized at Bangkok airport and diverted to the U.S.

Berlin Interior Minister Andreas Geisel called the incident an act of “modern piracy.” Berlin Mayor Michael Müller, a Social Democrat, said: “the actions of the U.S. president are…inhumane and unacceptable.”

Regional News • Asia
Taiwan government announces that they'll donate 10 million masks

The Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen announced that the country has increased the daily production of face masks and will provide other countries, which are affected by the coronavirus, with them. The countries current output has increased from 3.2 million surgical masks to 13 million surgical masks per day between February and the beginning of April.

Technology • Internet & Web
Pornhub donates 50,000 surgical masks and offers free premium worldwide

The online platform has announced that it'll donate in total 50,000 surgical masks to different organizations in the state of New York, as well as donating €50,000 to various organizations across Europe including countries like Germany, Italy and Spain. Additionally, the company will donate $25,000 to the Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) in order to "to meet immediate requests for support from sex workers impacted by COVID-19".

Apple announces donation of 2 million masks

In order to help fight the coronavirus the company has announced that it'll donate "millions of masks for health professionals in the US and Europe", CEO Tim Cook announced in a tweet. Vice President Mike Pence also confirmed the donation during a White House briefing and specified the number of donated masks to the US as 2 million.

Italian company releases 3D printed valve to transform Decathlon snorkeling mask into a ventilator mask

Facing a shortage of ventilators in the fight against the coronavirus, the Italian company Isinnova developed a 3D printable valve that can be attached to a commercially available snorkeling mask from Decathlon. The sports equipment company cooperated with Isinnova by releasing the CAD drawing of the mask, which enabled the development. The company released the plans and instructions on their website for free for non-commercial purposes.

Volkswagen announces donation of 200,000 masks

In a press release, the Volkswagen Group has announced that it'll donate around 200,000 FFP-2 and FFP-3 protective masks. The donation is coordinated with Jens Spahn, the German Federal Minister of Health. In addition to this Wolfsburg, the hometown of the Volkswagen Group will receive medical material donations from the company.

Regional News • Asia
Taiwan announces to donate 100,000 face masks per week to the United States

Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu has announced that they'd donate 100,000 masks per week as soon as their production levels have stabilized. In addition to this Taiwan and the United States will increase their cooperation regarding research, development and production of tests, vaccines, medicines as well as medical supplies and equipment.