Accepting masks from China, Graham calls for U.S. production

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A box of masks imported from Japan sits inside a Yifeng Pharmacy in Wuhan, China, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. Pharmacies in Wuhan are restricting customers to buying one mask at a time amid high demand and worries over an outbreak of a new coronavirus. The number of cases of the new virus has risen to over 400 in China and the death toll to 9, Chinese health authorities said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Dake Kang)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – In accepting delivery of 1.5 million surgical masks from China, officials in South Carolina are using the opportunity to express appreciation for the supplies needed to stem the coronavirus outbreak but to also call for a lessening of U.S. reliance on the foreign country.

Noting he expected a resurgence of the virus in the fall, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday he wanted the U.S. to be “much better prepared” in terms of needed supplies by the time that happens.

CEO Mark O’Halla said the 1.5 million masks delivered Sunday are enough to equip PRISMA hospitals in South Carolina for one month.

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