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Medical face masks, the chaos of COVID-19, & the scramble for the Golden Fleece with Prof N. Pearce

Medical face masks, the chaos of COVID-19, & the scramble for the Golden Fleece with Prof N. Pearce

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In May 2020 in a blog entitled The story of the Golden Fleece: A study in political economy, Nick Pearce retold the story of ‘melt-blown’, an extruded synthetic fibre, which was nicknamed the ‘golden fleece’ because of the valuable protection it offers front-line medical staff and its high demand the world over.
A few months ago, early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the lack of medical face masks took an alarming toll. We heard from health staff that they didn’t have the protection they needed. On an almost daily basis for weeks we were told: ‘It is stockpiled. Distribution is difficult.’ Was there an ingredient that was hard to come by? Where was the stockpile?
Nick Pearce is the Director of The Institute for Policy Research (IPR) and Professor of Public Policy, based at Bath University. He was formerly Director of the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) and was Head of the No10 Downing Street Policy Unit between 2008 and 2010.

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