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California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference at the California Department of Public Health in Sacramento, California, in February. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said during a Facebook live address Wednesday evening hospitals fighting the novel coronavirus are "asking seamstresses in the Los Angeles garment district" to make masks.

Why it matters: Newsom's comments underscore concerns raised by experts and lawmakers that medical shortages could cripple the U.S. response to the virus.

  • Per Newsom: "We clearly have to meet this moment where we're not asking seamstresses in a garment district to make masks."

Details: Newsom made the comments while stating that he's "very pleased that the federal administration is now utilizing FEMA in a much more comprehensive manor."

  • He said California officials had asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency for equipment related to testing for COVID-19, including ventilators to more basic needs "like glasses, masks and gowns for frontline employees and medical professionals."
  • Newsom said another concern was price-gouging, with the San Diego district attorney finding masks that were on the market a week ago for three cents selling for 83 cents.

By the numbers: Newsom said 12,600 people had been tested in California so far and that 598 others had tested positive for the virus in California as of Tuesday night — a 21% increase over the previous day.

  • The results of 3,215 tests in the state are pending. But Newsom said the capacity to test was increasing and Californian officials had told the federal government that they needed to procure more swabs "so we can do specimen samples, not just the diagnostics."

Of note: Newsom issued an executive order earlier Wednesday to suspend standardized testing for more than 6 million students in K-12 schools this year, pending federal approval. Schools across the state closed in response to the virus.

  • Newsom also signed an executive order to authorize $150 million in funding to go toward protecting homeless Californians from COVID-19.

The big picture: President Trump signed into law an emergency coronavirus relief package on Wednesday evening that aims to provide free testing for COVID-19 to Americans.

  • The package also contains measures for two weeks of paid sick and family leave; increased federal funds for Medicaid and food security programs, including food stamps; and increased unemployment insurance benefits.

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day — U.S. tops 88,000 COVID-19 cases, setting new single-day record.
  2. Politics: States beg for Warp Speed billions.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases.
  4. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.

Technical glitch in Facebook's ad tools creates political firestorm

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: SOPA Images / Contributor

Facebook said late Thursday that a mix of "technical problems" and confusion among advertisers around its new political ad ban rules caused issues affecting ad campaigns of both parties.

Why it matters: A report out Thursday morning suggested the ad tools were causing campaign ads, even those that adhered to Facebook's new rules, to be paused. Very quickly, political campaigners began asserting the tech giant was enforcing policies in a way that was biased against their campaigns.

5 hours ago - Health

States beg for Warp Speed billions

A COVID-19 drive-thru testing center yesterday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Photo: David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP

Operation Warp Speed has an Achilles' heel: States need billions to distribute vaccines — and many say they don't have the cash.

Why it matters: The first emergency use authorization could come as soon as next month, but vaccines require funding for workers, shipping and handling, and for reserving spaces for vaccination sites.

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