Household products maker 3M (MMM) - Get Report said it has been churning out millions of much-needed respirators that are making their way to front-line doctors, nurses and other first responders as North America gets hits hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Saint Paul, Minn.-based company said it was now producing the equivalent of 35 million respirators a month, with more than 500,000 of its bug-looking respirators on the way to New York and Seattle, respectively, with arrivals expected to begin in each of those areas on Tuesday.
In a statement, 3M CEO Mike Roman said the company has ramped up to “maximum production levels of N95 respirators, and doubled our global output to a rate of more than 1.1 billion per year, or nearly 100 million per month.”
In the U.S., the company is producing 35 million respirators per month, with some 90% designated for health care workers, with the remaining deployed to other industries also critical in this pandemic, including energy, food and pharmaceutical companies.
An N95 respirator, which looks more like a gas mask that straps over one's head, helps filter virus aerosol particles. 3M also produces face masks which offer different though lower levels of protection.
“Like everyone, I see the pleas from our heroic doctors, nurses and first responders for the respirators and other equipment they desperately need,” Roman said. “I want people to know we are doing all we can to meet the demands of this extraordinary time and get supplies from our plants to where they’re most needed as quickly as possible.”
Shares of 3M were down 6.45% at $116.83 in trading on Monday. They fell 9.18% to $124.89 in regular trading on Friday.