Federal agents swarmed over a warehouse on the east coast this week. They confiscated hundreds of thousands of fake COVID-19 masks.  They were made and packaged to look like authentic N95 masks made by 3M. Most were destined for healthcare workers nationwide. So far, the federal agency is not revealing the destination points for the masks. But going by earlier confiscations, there’s a chance some may have been destined for healthcare workers in Michigan.  USA Today reported last year about a large shipment of masks destined for Michigan that were confiscated by federal agents. Homeland Security administrators say 3M was in on the enforcement action. It had gotten word about the fake masks being purchased and tipped off Homeland Security investigators.

The most recent confiscation is one of many in recent weeks where the Department of Homeland Security says about 11 million counterfeit N95 respirator masks have been seized. All were destined for the hands, or faces, of hospital workers and first responders.

The N95 mask design is a favorite of frontline workers. It has several variations. It is designed to block 95% of particulate matter. Hence the “95” designation.

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas points to the recent seizures as evidence private industry and government agencies are working to keep America safe. “These seizures illustrate the ongoing efforts of HSI, CBP, and private industry in keeping our communities and medical staff safe and free from counterfeit products..Often, this battle is fought behind the scenes and is unknown to the general public, but you can be assured that the DHS workforce remains firmly committed to protecting the health and safety of our medical workers, the American public, and the integrity of the American economy.”

Government investigators have identified close to 6 thousand customers victimized by the fraudulent mask sales. That includes hospitals and medical care offices in as many as 12 states.  All have been notified of the issue and warned not to rely on their counterfeit masks for COVID-19 transmission prevention.

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