NEWS RELEASE February 2021
Mask and Media Suppliers Need an Assured Third World Market
Large increases in the U.S. production of tight fitting-efficient masks are needed. The problem for suppliers is an uncertain long term market. The Biden Administration can provide a solution by funding exports to poor countries.
Over the next six months the wealthy countries need to supply citizens with three times as many tight fitting efficient face masks as they are presently using. Suppliers need to be convinced of a long term market to justify the needed investment.
If governments provide sufficient incentive, then the suppliers can quickly scale up to meet demands. The recent McIlvaine Alerts show how a combination of media and mask designs can be utilized.
If each wealthy country is considering a unilateral program then the solution involves a relatively high cost per mask. There is an alternative which results in a low cost per mask and more importantly an improved world economy. That solution is supply of masks to poorer countries funded by the wealthy countries.
Why is it in the self-interest of wealthy countries to pay for masks in poor countries for the next 5 years?
- A long term market is created for the mask and media suppliers. They can switch from domestic sales to exports as the domestic market subsides.
- The supply and purchase of goods by poorer countries will more than offset any mask subsidies.
- New variants and even strains of the virus will be prevented from being transmitted from poor to wealthy countries.
- Wealthy countries need to be prepared for the next pandemic with sufficient supply capacity.
- Enhance U.S. image.
It now appears that herd immunity worldwide will not be achieved for seven years. Vaccination progress even with funding will be slow. Infrastructure for cold storage and vaccine injection is lacking.
In countries where the pandemic continues new variants will continue to develop. These variants will be transmitted back to countries which are protected only from previous forms. The greater the number of new variants the greater the likelihood of a new strain which is completely resistant to the existing vaccines.
Poorer countries are both suppliers and purchasers of more than one third of the world’s products and services. The pandemic has greatly reduced this contribution. Economists have provided more than ample evidence that the cost of masks for poorer countries will be more than offset by economic benefits to the world economy.
The Biden Administration is considering various funding alternatives to see that Americans wear tight fitting efficient masks. One option McIlvaine has reported is for coupons which would allow lower income citizens to purchase masks. But no matter how attractive this makes the short term market it does not justify large investments.
The Biden Administration could implement a two stage plan.
- Stage 1 would encourage the expansion of the domestic production to meet short term domestic needs with the promise of future support.
- Stage 2 would be initiated after the U.S. market subsides and would offer citizens of poorer countries coupons for mask purchase.
This offer would extend for several years. These coupons would be used to purchase masks exported from the U.S. or made by U.S. based manufacturers. U.S. suppliers would be guaranteed a long term market.
It would be preferable to create a coordinated effort through WHO. However, there is an urgent need now for the Biden Administration to act. So the initiative can be unilateral with the intent of coordinating with WHO in the future.
There is consternation about the vulnerability of the U.S. to future pandemics. At the onset of COVID-19 the U.S. was relying on China for its meltblown media and masks. One solution is to have excess capacity in reserve. Another is to impose disincentives such as tariffs to limit imports. The subsidizing of exports to poor countries is much better from an economic and humanitarian perspective.
Background information on this initiative is shown at http://www.mcilvainecompany.com/CATER/subscriber/default.htm