Coronavirus pandemic: US nearly runs out of emergency stockpiles of medical supplies
Washington, Apr 02: The US has nearly run out of its emergency stockpiles of medical supplies like masks, gowns and gloves in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed claimed over 5,000 lives in the country and infected 210,000 people, according to reports.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has delivered more than 11.6 million N-95 masks, 5.2 million face shields, 22 million gloves and 7,140 ventilators, exhausting the emergency stockpile, an official was quoted as saying by The New York Times on Wednesday. According to a report in the Daily quoting a senior administration official, there was a "tiny slice" of personal protective equipment left over that is being preserved for emergency medical workers for the federal government.
"The federal government has nearly emptied its emergency stockpile of protective medical supplies like masks, gowns and gloves as state governors continue to plea for protective gear for desperate hospital workers," it said.
The Trump Administration has also pulled up the private sector to manufacture these supplies including ventilators which are so critical in the treatment of coronavirus patients. "To make, procure, deliver crucial medical supplies to our doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers, my administration is leveraging the might of American manufacturing, supply chains, and innovators across the industry and across every industry," Trump told reporters at a White House news conference.
"Hanes is making protective gear, masks, and were making tremendous amounts of product. There's never been anything like it," he said. Cardinal Health from Ohio has donated 2.2 million gowns to the strategic National stockpile, he added. FEMA along with Department of Homeland Security has joined hands with the private sector called project Air Bridge to bring supplies from other countries to the US, including gloves, gowns, goggles and masks. "These supplies will soon be distributed around the country. We have large cargo planes coming in from various parts of the world," he said.
"Every day, new plane loads are landing in cities such as New York, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles. Additional flights have been scheduled and we are adding more and more. And they're actually coming in ahead of schedule. A lot of these lights are coming in with a lot of material ahead of schedule," the president said.
Responding to a question, Trump said that thousands of ventilators are being manufactured with the help of 11 companies. "We are soon going to have more ventilators than we need. We are building thousands of ventilators right now you know it takes a period of time to build them and again nobody could have known a thing like this could happen. We are building thousands," he said.
"We will fairly soon be at a point where we have far more than we can use even after we stockpile for some future catastrophe which we hope doesn't happen. We are going to be distributing them, the extras around the world we will go to Italy, we will go to France, we will go to Spain which is you know very hard hit," he added.
The US has freezed shipment of personal protective equipment outside the country, the CNN reported. Meanwhile, a Russian cargo plane carrying 60 tonnes of medical supplies, including ventilators, masks and other protection gear, needed to treat the patients with COVID-19 landed in the US on Wednesday to support the country's fight against the pandemic.