Christian Siriano Will Start Producing Face Masks as Coronavirus Pandemic Creates 'Critical' Need for Them

Christian Siriano is the latest fashion designer to contribute to the fight against coronavirus (COVID-19).

On Friday, the Project Runway alum, 34, announced on Twitter and Instagram that his sewing team is willing and able to produce protective face masks as demand for them continues to outweigh the supply.

“If @NYGovCuomo says we need masks my team will help make some. I have a full sewing team still on staff working from home that can help,” the designer wrote on Twitter.

Hundreds of social media users applauded Siriano for the generous offer — among them? New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who said that the state has a “critical need for PPE including gloves, gowns & masks,” in a tweet on Friday.

“Thank you. Please follow back and we will DM you,” Cuomo said in response to Siriano.

Later, he added, “Appreciate his help so much. Who’s next? Let’s do this together, NY!”

On Instagram, influencer Nicolette Mason thanked the star for “leading by example” and encouraged others to make the same decision.

“🙌🙌🙌 Yes!!! The entire NY fashion industry should shift to help people on the frontlines of this crisis,” she said in the comment section of Siriano’s post. “Thanks for leading by example. I hope this is one way small fashion brands can weather the storm AND help.”

Heidi Klum left several clapping and heart emojis, while fellow model Candice Huffine added, “And this is why among so many reasons, you are the best!!!! 💪💪”

Later in the day on Friday, Siriano shared a video on Twitter showing the process they are following to correctly fit the masks.

The designer’s announcement comes just weeks after U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams urged the public to stop purchasing face masks, warning that the masks won’t protect from potential contamination and that the decrease in supply is putting healthcare providers at risk.

“Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!” he shared on Twitter.

He later added, “The best way to protect yourself and your community is with everyday preventive actions, like staying home when you are sick and washing hands with soap and water, to help slow the spread of respiratory illness. Get your #FluShot– fewer flu patients = more resources for #COVID19.”

The CDC echoed that advice in a press briefing a few days earlier, saying that they do not recommend face masks for the general public.

“While it is cold and flu season, we don’t routinely recommend the use of face masks in the general public to prevent respiratory illness, and we certainly are not recommending that at this time for this new virus,” said Dr. Nancy Messonier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC.

When healthy people buy up face masks they take them away from medical professionals who do need them. There is currently a worldwide shortage of face masks, and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said on Feb. 25, that the U.S. has just 30 million stockpiled, and need ten times that — 300 million — to protect heath care workers.

According to ABC News, the federal government has said up to a billion masks might be needed over the next six months.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.

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