Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decision to spend almost $1 billion in taxpayer funds to buy protective masks drew national attention as an aggressive move by California to solve one of the most nagging problems of the coronavirus crisis. But almost two weeks after he announced the deal during a cable TV interview, very few details have been disclosed. The governor’s advisors have so far declined requests for information about the agreement with BYD, the Chinese electric car manufacturer hired to produce the masks, though the state has already wired the company the first installment of $495 million.
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