L.A. bought $19 million worth of N95 masks early in the pandemic and now resales are lagging

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A worker at a Honeywell International Inc. factory producing N95 masks May 5, 2020, in Phoenix, Arizona. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

A worker at a Honeywell International Inc. factory producing N95 masks May 5, 2020, in Phoenix, Arizona. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

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As the COVID-19 pandemic gripped Los Angeles in April 2020, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that the city had agreed to buy 24 million N95 masks made by Honeywell and resell them to hospitals and nursing homes.

The news provided a glimmer of hope amid widespread alarm about the nationwide shortage of personal protective gear for first responders. Price-gouging and counterfeits were also common as buyers sought the masks.

A little more than a year later, with mask demand slowing and supplies more plentiful, the city has resold only about one-third of the Honeywell N95 masks that it has received under the deal, according to records reviewed by The Times.

The city has spent about $10.4 million on the masks to date, with resales through May 4 of this year totaling about $3.4 million, records show. The city is receiving 1.2 million masks a month and paying as it receives the shipments.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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