In the richest country in the world, the U.S. surgeon general is showing people how to use a piece of cloth, such as a bandana, and fold it, incorporating rubber bands, to make a cloth face mask.
It's better than nothing when you need to go to the store or pharmacy. But, it makes you wonder how this country could have so poorly prepared for a pandemic that it didn't have enough personal protective equipment for its health care workers and for the general public, too.
Mike Bowen, executive vice president and partner of Prestige Ameritech, the nation's largest surgical mask manufacturer, said his company has yet to increase its staff or extend its production times, citing the uncertainty that comes with outbreaks like the current one. Hiring more staff to work longer hours may help to meet the growing needs of the nation's health care workers, but if the outbreak subsides, Bowen said in a CBS News article, his businesses would be forced to downsize.
"We're caught between a rock and a hard place," he said. "We don't like to lay people off."
So much for capitalism coming to the rescue during a pandemic that's expected to kill 100,000 to 200,000 people.