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White House Pays Underwear Makers to Churn Out Millions of Masks

The effort recalls factories’ retooling during World War II.

A worker makes protective masks at Eagle Sportswear, in Middlesex, North Carolina.

A worker makes protective masks at Eagle Sportswear, in Middlesex, North Carolina.

Photo Credit: American Giant

With gold-standard N95 respirators in critically short supply at hospitals, underwear and T-shirt factories in the U.S. retooled  this week to make cotton face masks so doctors and nurses will have some protection.

Companies from New Balance and L.L. Bean in New England to Gap in California are contributing to an ever-widening emergency initiative, the likes of which hasn’t been seen for 80 years. The effort offers a lifeline for the garment industry, its sales flattened by the pandemic.