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Federal reserves of N95 respirators, other protective equipment almost exhausted

Strategic National Stockpile N95 respirators are almost out of surgical masks, faces, shields, gowns and other medical supplies, which desperately need the protection of front-line medical personnel treating corona virus patients.

Federal reserves of N95 respirators, other protective equipment almost exhausted

The Department of Health and Human Services told the Associated Press on Wednesday that the federal repository was in the process of deploying all remaining personal protective equipment on its inventory.  The department said a small percentage would be reserved to support federal response efforts.

Federal documents released Wednesday by the HHS Statement House Oversight and Reform Committee confirm that about 90% of personal protective equipment in the stockpile has been distributed to state and local governments.

House Oversight Chairwoman Caroline B.  Maloney, D-N.Y.  A statement said that the Trump administration is leaving the states to eliminate the open market for scarce supplies, often in chaotic bid wars in competition with each other and federal agencies that drive up prices.

"The president failed to bring in FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), failed to name a national commander for the crisis, and failed to fully utilize the officials Congress gave him to the Defense Distribution Act and Managed Distribution of Vital Supplies  Bought under, ”Maloney said.  "They should now take action to address these deficiencies."

Trump has blamed the states for not preparing better for the epidemic, saying they should only rely on federal reserves as a last resort.

The AP reported on Sunday that the Trump administration warned about two months after the beginning of January that COVID-19 could ignite a global pandemic, waiting until March 95 to place bulk orders of N95 masks  Had been and other medical supplies were needed to make stockpiles.  By then, hospitals in many states were treating thousands of infected patients without adequate equipment and pleading for help.

Trump spent the first two months of the outbreak to reduce the threat from the new virus.  He warned as an epidemic by the Democrats and the media predicted late night of February 26 that the number of American cases would soon drop to zero.

Federal contracting records show that HHS ordered the N95 mask for $4.8 million on March 12, followed by $173 million on March 21.  But those contracts do not require the manufacturer to begin delivery to the National Stockpill by the end of April.  The epidemic will reach its peak after the White House estimates.

For about a month, Trump ordered companies to exercise their authority under the Defense Production Act to increase production of lawmakers and ventilators before granting last week's relief.

  When asked about the AP's report, the president suggested Sunday that states should be grateful for the shipment of supplies received.

  "FEMA, the military, what they have done is a miracle," Trump said.  “What they have done is a miracle to get this whole thing.  What he has done for the states is incredible.  "