Graphic by Luke Theodossy

Since the coronavirus outbreak began, people turned to medical masks of all shapes and sizes for protection. But as we go deeper into the quarantine, they’ve become scarce, making it harder for medical workers to stay protected without them. But recently, California’s government gave Gavin Newsom $1 billion, allowing him to use it freely and for any reason. Many regained their hope when Newsom announced his deal between a Chinese manufacturing company to produce 200 million masks for California. While resolving certain issues, lawmakers hit back against the sudden announcement, with AP News reporting, ”The announcement surprised many state lawmakers, and California took the unusual step of paying half the cost up front.” 

Taking this deal comes with risks, including going against the president’s ideals, whom many asserted offered little guidance during the pandemic. In an interview with Rachel Maddow with MSNBC, Newsom noted, “We’ve been competing against other states, against other nations, against our own federal government….[but] we’re not waiting around any longer.” 

Many lawmakers are on edge as the deal provided little details, not including the company who’ll be manufacturing the 200 million masks, and how it will affect California or even the nation. According to Newsom, California is on the right track, stating, ”We were going out getting 5 million here, 500,000 there, 200,000 there….We decided enough of the small ball. Let’s use our purchasing power. Let’s go at scale.”

As Californians wait for this incoming deal to conclude, many took to making their own versions of masks. Ads and tutorials are popping up to teach the general public how to keep themselves safe until the state can provide the right equipment for everyone. In the meantime, the same rules apply: keep your distance, avoid the sick, use only takeout from restaurants and businesses, and stay safe.