Newsom announces $1.4 billion request for PPE; talks racial divide in COVID-19 cases

As California reports one of its deadliest days in the coronavirus pandemic, Governor Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday he has formally submitted a request to the legislature to invest $1.4 billion for personal protective equipment (PPE) for Californians.

The PPE includes a monthly procurement of 200 million N95 masks and 50 million surgical masks on a monthly basis.

RELATED: California to buy 200 million masks a month amid outbreak

Mark Ghilarducci, the state office of Emergency Services Director said they are working on new technology that is designed to sterilize used N95 masks and make them new again.

As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 16,857 positive COVID-19 coronavirus cases and 442 deaths in California. Of those, 1,154 patients were in ICUs, a 4.2% increase from Tuesday, and 2,714 patients were hospitalized, a 3.9% increase from the previous day. 

Newsom said 68 people have died within the last 24 hours. 

The racial divide of COVID-19 cases has been a hot topic of conversation, with numbers indicating the death rate is higher for African Americans. 


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• African Americans have slightly higher COVID-19 death rate than other races, ethnicities: Public Health

• New study seeks to learn if COVID-19 death rates are higher among African Americans

Newsom said demographic information has been provided for 6,306 confirmed coronavirus cases so far, which is just 37% of total cases. The current data shows the breakdown of those who have tested COVID-19 positive are:

• 30% Hispanic

• 14% Asian

• 6% Black

Of the deadly cases:

• 29% Hispanic

• 16% Asian

• 3% Black

Newsom said because of the lack of demographic information, there was a need to conduct more detailed studies to provide more accurate numbers. 

On Monday, Newsom said California would send 500 ventilators to assist other states in the coronavirus pandemic. Those ventilators were sent to New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Maryland, Washington D.C., Delaware and Nevada. 

RELATED: California to send 500 ventilators to help other states in need; COVID-19 to peak in mid-May