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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

3M said Thursday it has investigated over 4,000 reports and filed 18 lawsuits in response to suspected price gouging, counterfeiting, and fraud regarding the sale of N95 respirator masks.

Why it matters: The U.S. is potentially staring down another severe shortage of face masks, gowns and other protective equipment — which are especially needed by health care workers — amid the coronavirus surge.

  • The company said that any damages recovered through its lawsuits will be donated to nonprofit coronavirus relief efforts, including Direct Relief.

The big picture: 3M faced criticism from President Trump and other prominent observers, like Mark Cuban, over its respirator production early in the pandemic.

  • Cuban criticized the company in April for "making more globally than domestically," echoing a similar line from Trump now as the U.S. became the epicenter of the pandemic. "You can't ghost the American people," he told Axios.
  • 3M says it has delivered nearly 100 million N95 masks to hospitals around the U.S. as of July, while manufacturing 50 million respirators a month.

Go deeper: PPE failure, again

Go deeper

Oct 24, 2020 - World

Poland's president tests positive for coronavirus

Duda. Photo: Sergii Kharchenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Polish President Andrzej Duda has tested positive for the coronavirus, a spokesperson announced on Saturday.

The big picture: Duda is reportedly feeling well and in isolation. His positive test comes amid a massive uptick in COVID-19 throughout the country and elsewhere across Europe.

  • Poland had previously warded off the virus with relative success, but is now facing a massive influx of cases that threatens to overwhelm its medical system.
  • The nation on Saturday tracked "13,628 new cases and 179 new deaths — a record number of deaths in one day since the start of pandemic," AP reports.
Updated Oct 25, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trumpworld coronavirus tracker

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

An outbreak of COVID-19 has struck the White House — including the president himself — just weeks before the 2020 election.

Why it matters: If the president can get infected, anyone can. And the scramble to figure out the scope of this outbreak is a high-profile, high-stakes microcosm of America's larger failures to contain the virus and to stand up a contact-tracing system that can respond to new cases before they have a chance to become outbreaks.

29 mins ago - World

WHO revises air quality guidelines to reduce deaths from pollution

Smoke from California wildfires over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco in August 2021. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The World Health Organization on Wednesday updated air quality guidelines it set roughly 15 years ago, saying that negative health effects from air pollutants can begin at lower levels than it previously thought.

Why it matters: The changes are meant to reduce deaths from pollutants that cause cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and prematurely kill an estimated 7 million people around the world annually, according to the WHO.