A Chinese spokesperson wrote on Twitter:
As of Apr. 20, China had provided the US with over 2.46 bn masks, meaning 7 masks for each in the US, plus nearly 5,000 ventilators & many others. Hope that could save more lives.
Hua Chunying 华春莹 via Twitter
As per the comments, the timeframe is relevant. The tweet was made during the coronavirus pandemic, so I feel it's natural to interpret it as implying these masks should be useful for combating COVID-19. So masks during or prior to 2019 should not be included.
The claim is repeated by the Xinhua news agency, which continued: In recent weeks, China's daily output of face masks has skyrocketed to 100 million masks. The New York Times (April 11) also reported a daily production of 116 million, and said this about exports:
Zhao Lijian, a foreign ministry spokesman, said at the ministry’s daily news briefing on Friday that from March 1 through April 4, China exported 3.86 billion masks, 2.8 million coronavirus test kits, 2.4 million infrared thermometers and 16,000 ventilators.
This makes it sound like these mask imports took place in recent weeks or months. I didn't immediately find evidence either way.
Question: In response to COVID-19, as of 20 April 2020, has China provided the US with over 2.46 billion masks?
Update: Similar claims have been made by other Chinese spokespersons:
...China has provided the U.S. with 1.864bn masks...
Cui Tiankai, via Twitter, 21 April 2020
...China has provided the U.S. with: - 1.864 bln masks...
Geng Shuang, quoted by CGTN via Twitter, 20 April 2020