WASHINGTON — The Strategic National Stockpile is nearly out of N95 respirators, surgical masks, face shields, gowns and other supplies desperately needed to protect front-line medical workers treating coronavirus patients.
The remaining 10% of the federal stockpile is being held in reserve for federal workers.
The House Oversight committee has released documents showing that about 90% of all the personal protective equipment in the stockpile has been distributed to state and local governments. But the committee says that even though the stockpile is nearly depleted, not enough equipment has been distributed
The committee says that 11.7 million N95 respirator masks have been distributed nationwide — less than 1% of the 3.5 billion masks that the Trump Administration estimated would be necessary in the event of a severe pandemic. In addition, 7,920 ventilators have been distributed, even though a recent survey of city mayors — not including mayors of hot spots like New York and Seattle — identified a total estimated need of 139,000 ventilators.
House Democrats say the Trump Administration is leaving states to fend for themselves, competing with each other and federal agencies in a free-for-all bidding war that drives up prices. Trump has said in the past that state governors should have been better prepared for an event like the pandemic.
Last week, White House adviser Jared Kushner said that the federal stockpile was "not for the states," but for the federal government, despite pleas for help from state and local governments.