New York State has an answer to the shortage of hand sanitizer.
It's using prison inmates to make its own.
The state-made hand sanitizer, being branded with the bland government name of "New York State Clean," will not – yet – be available to the general public. But to address the shortage of hand sanitizer across the country, the product will be sold to public agencies and schools.
Promoting the product like a seasoned pitch man for the Home Shopping Network, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo sat with three different-sized bottles of New York State Clean, including gallon and 7-ounce sizes. Curtains ceremoniously opened to show a full display behind him.
He spritzed some onto his hands and off-handedly invited his health commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, to sniff for the floral bouquet. He later clarified that he was joking about the scent.
While the product is not yet available to the general public, Cuomo warned that if major online retailers did not curb the price gouging practices associated with the sale of other hand sanitizer products, New York State Clean may be more broadly distributed.
It costs the state $6.10 to make a gallon of its own hand sanitizer, $1.12 for the 7-ounce size, and 84 cents for the even smaller, purse-sized bottle.
"It’s much cheaper for us to make it ourselves than on the open market," he said.
The product is being made by inmates at the Great Meadow Correctional Facility in Washington County.
The state-made hand sanitizer has an even higher alcohol content than Purell, Cuomo said. New York State Clean is 75% alcohol.
The CDC recommends hand sanitizer with an alcohol content level of at least 60% to kill the new coronavirus.
Story topics: Covid-19