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Coronavirus

Mask shortages threaten US hospitals after warnings ignored

Coronavirus outbreak exposes overreliance on China supplies

Nikkei montage/Source photos by Getty images

NEW YORK -- The U.S. is facing a potentially severe shortage of surgical masks due to the coronavirus outbreak in China, despite repeated warnings that American hospitals are overly dependent on Chinese-made medical supplies.

While the coronavirus has caused just 12 confirmed cases in the U.S., the country sources the bulk of its surgical masks, respirators and other "personal protective equipment" from China, where the disease has infected tens of thousands.

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