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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — 3M has announced plans to produce two billion N95 respirators within the next year to aid in the fight against COVID-19.

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CEO Mike Roman said Tuesday that the Maplewood-based company delivered 10 million protective face masks to United States medical facilities in the past week alone.

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He says they will been able to produce 50 million per month by June in the U.S., and another 50 million per month globally.

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Roman underlined that 90% of the face masks are going to health care and public health workers, while the remaining 10% will go to those in industries such as food, energy and pharmaceuticals.

“This is not just a 3M challenge; it’s an industry-wide challenge,” Roman said. “Even with 3M’s accelerated production combined with capacity from other manufacturers, the reality is that demand for N95 respirators is much higher than the industries’ ability to deliver.”

3M is also partnering with Ford to manufacture air purifying respirators.

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