As the number of coronavirus patients surges, America's national stockpile of medical equipment is nearly drained. AP found the Trump administration waited until mid-March to begin placing bulk orders of vital medical equipment.
WASHINGTON (AP) — After the first alarms sounded in early January that an outbreak of a novel coronavirus in China might ignite a global pandemic, the Trump administration squandered nearly two...
Eight days later, on March 13, Trump declared the outbreak a. That was almost six weeks after the WHO’s action. By then, thousands of U.S. schools had closed, the National Basketball Association had put its season on temporary hiatus and there were 1,700 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country.
The governmenthad already senttens of thousands of masks, gloves and gowns from the stockpile to Washington state, which was hit early with a coronavirus outbreak. But state officials even then said the supplies weren’t enough.Federal contracting records show that HHS had made an initial order March 12 for $4.8 million of N95 masks from 3M, the largest U.S.-based manufacturer, which had ramped up production weeks earlier in response to the pandemic. HHS followed up with a larger, $173 million order on March 21, but those contracts don’t require 3M to start making deliveries to the national stockpile until the end of April. That’s after the White House has projected the pandemic will reach its peak.
On Thursday, Trump threatened in a tweet to “hit 3M hard” through a Defense Production Act order, saying the company “will have a big price to pay!” He gave no specifics.HHS declined this past week to say how many N95 masks it has on hand. But as of March 31, the White House said more than 11.6 million had been distributed to state and local governments from the national stockpile — about 90% of what was available at the start of the year.
Dr. Robert Kadlec, the assistant secretary for preparedness and response at HHS, testified before Congress last month that the country would need roughly 3.5 billion N95 respirators to get through the pandemic, but the national supply chain then had just about 1% of that amount.
Greg Burel, director of the Strategic National Stockpile from 2007 until his retirement at the start of this year, said the cache was only ever intended to serve as a short-term “bridge-stock.”The stockpile was created in 1999 to prevent supply-chain disruptions for the predicted Y2K computer problems. It expanded after 9/11 to prepare for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks. Congress provided money in 2006 to prepare for a potential influenza pandemic, though Burel said much of that stock was used during the H1N1 flu outbreak three years later.
“There’s never enough money to buy everything that we want to see on those shelves,” said Burel, who stressed the stockpile uses its annual funding to prepare for a wide array of potential threats.“Most of the time, commercially available products like masks can be bought in quantity at the time of an event.”
This time, it hasn’t worked out that way. As the APreported last month, much of the world’s supply of N95 masks and other basic medical supplies is made in China, the first nation hit by COVID-19. As a result, the Chinese government required its producers to reserve N95 respirators for domestic use. China resumed exports of the masks only in recent days.
Experts are now worried the U.S. will also soon exhaust its supply of ventilators, which can cost upward of $12,000 each.The White House said Tuesday that it had already distributed nearly half the breathing machines in the stockpile, which at the beginning of March had 16,660; some of them dated back to the flurry of post-9/11 purchasing. An additional 2,425 were out for maintenance.
Cuomo said New York may need as many as 40,000 ventilators to deal with the outbreak that is already overwhelming hospitals there.Throughout March, governors and mayors of big cities urged Trump to use his authority under the Defense Production Act to direct private companies to ramp up production of ventilators. It wasn’t until last week that Trump finally said he would use that power to order General Motors to begin manufacturing ventilators — work the company
had already announcedwas underway.The federal government had made an effort to prepare for a surge in the need for ventilators, but it was allowed to languish. Since 2014, HHS has paid a private company, Respironics Inc., $13.8 million to develop a cheaper, less complicated ventilator that could be bought in bulk to replenish the national stockpile. In September, HHS placed a $32.8 million
orderwith the Dutch-owned company for 10,000 of the new model, set for delivery by 2022, federal contracts show.Respironics’ parent company, Royal Philips, said it’s planning to double U.S. production of ventilators to 2,000 a week by the end of May.Steve Klink, a spokesman for Royal Philips in Amsterdam, said the company is now focused on producing its other commercial models and will deliver the first ventilators to the national stockpile by August, long after the White House projects COVID-19 cases will peak.
Trump, who pledged on March 27 that his administration would ensure that 100,000 additional ventilators would be made available “within 100 days,” said on Thursday that he’ll use the Defense Production Act toorderRespironics and other ventilator makers to step up production.
It’s not clear that Trump’s order would translate into the 100,000 new ventilators he promised. In a House Oversight and Reform Committee briefing last week, top Federal Emergency Management Agency officialshedged, saying 100,000 ventilators would be available by late June “at the earliest.”
Cuomo predicted on Friday that New York would run out within days. With coronavirus deaths in his state surging, the governor vowed toto seize ventilators, masks and protective gear from private hospitals that aren’t utilizing them.Meanwhile, federal health authorities are lowering standards.
Newguidancefrom the Food and Drug Administration allows hospitals to use emergency ventilators typically used in ambulances and anesthesia gas machines in place of standard ventilators. The agency also said nightstand CPAP machines used to treat sleep apnea and snoring could also be used to keep coronavirus patients breathing, as a last resort.
The CDCadvisedhealth care workers last month to use homemade masks or bandanas if they run out of proper gear. Across the country, hospitals have issued urgent pleas for volunteers who know how to sew.Trump provided his own input, suggesting that Americans without access to factory-produced masks could cover their faces with scarves.
“A scarf is highly recommended by the professionals,” Trump said during a White House briefing Wednesday. “And I think, in a certain way, depending on the fabric — I think, in a certain way, a scarf is better. It’s actually better.”___Associated Press writers John Hanna in Topeka, Kan., and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Kevin Freking in Washington contributed to this report.
___Follow AP Investigative Reporter Michael Biesecker at http://twitter.com/mbieseck___Contact AP’s global investigative team at Investigative@ap.org___This story has been updated to correct that Trump declared a national emergency on March 13, not March 14.Read more: The Associated Press »
So using a quote from an Obama HHS worker “we wasted 2 months” isn’t an opinion piece? If I do my math correctly she’s saying in early Jan. they should have been ordering billions of masks, etc? How many cases did US have then? When did WHO say it was a public health emergency? WHO WHO should establish an emergency global forum of scientist of international acclaim to may find out an immediate & earliest anti dot vaccine needs to be prepared to fight out this Coronavirus infection to have become a global havoc pendamic and to have gripped d humanity.
Why dont you focus on the real enemy. CHINA LIE ... Associated hypocrites Sick of you demented journalists. You see, we know that ventilators were available for New York, the the governor screwed up. DiBlasio was so cocky that he went to the gym in the am! Democrats cannot think for themselves. They are sheep being led to the slaughter.
Up. Democrats wasted months on their bullshit impeachment that should have been spent preparing You are dreaming Now if states would have stockpiled on their own instead of wasting billion of taxpayer on Green project like in NY, the stress on the federal stock pile would have been much less. Blame the state governor's failure to protect their residents, not the federal government!
The travel bans were insituted in mid January... Media & Dems cried, 'xenophobia'. China lied about the actual numbers of death's and infections. Medical equipment can't be manufactured fast enough... hardly the administration's fault. What in the hell has the CDC been doing for the last 5 years aside from Orange Man Badding?
And who made money off the shortages? And then who did those contracts go to? reality is who can you place the bulk orders with?china? They are still short of medical equipment until march. You should not exported medical equipment to china until you are sure you have enough reserves to prepared for pandemic.
Maybe change the headline from U.S. wasted to Trump wasted. One Trump golf outing costs how many ventilators? justsaying So from January 20th 2017 to March 2020 he did nothing to replenish the stockpile while blaming Obama. Sounds about right for his blame others world. trump & his administration failed the American people with lies & Ignorance!
Garbage opinion piece not labeled correctly. Fake News, AP. No one is listening anymore! It’s almost like we elected a completely unqualified person to the highest position in the country. Because the governors failed their states mid-f'ing-March?! We were OURSELVES trying to find TP, sanitizer, and clorox wipes before then. Incompetent asses.
Tell us about ventilator's again California gave a large number back now NY has extra as well as Washington gave back. Because of stupid WHO, who misled the whole world. Is the Trump administration the only entity responsible for ordering equipment? Do hospitals, municipalities, states or other orgs ever order medical equipment?
Poor demented Kooky Left going after Trump in any way they can. WON'T WORK This was either the result of criminally negligent behavior by the administration or the result of criminal activity by a President at a never before seen level. Either way, it's resulted in needless deaths and economic suffering.
No mention that the Obama Administration left it depleted and Democrats in Congress have not let up on their constant harassment of Trump since before his inauguration. There are no words.
U.S. Defense chief backs Navy decision to oust U.S. ship commanderU.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Sunday defended the U.S. Navy's controversial decision to remove the commander of a coronavirus-stricken U.S. aircraft carrier, saying it was a 'tough call' but that ultimately it was 'a chain of command issue.' Doesn’t matter who backs it! Interestingly the majority of his sailors don't seem to. he put the entire military at risk with his email
EU targets more U.S. imports after U.S. metal tariff extensionThe European Union has drawn up a list of U.S. imports including lighters and plastic fittings for furniture that it will hit with tariffs in retaliation for an extension of U.S. duties on incoming steel and aluminium. Billy can turn there and look for another serial number, in windows hospital 7 I dunno. Does anyone really need this right now?
U.S. agriculture: Can it handle coronavirus, labor shortages and panic buying?Because consumers recently have changed the way they buy and consume food, various snags in the food supply chain have led to disruptions. 趕緊恢復 RT NYFarmer ZwartblesIE HelenChuMD NYDailyNews SINYCliving DougGeed12 how CV19 impacts food supply, no school-no milk consumption, no restaurants-no butter consumption TONS of Milk is being dumped, due to Restaurants and schools closed. 😢😢😢
Wisconsin's primary to go forward Tuesday even as coronavirus all but shutters the U.S.Wisconsin’s Republican-led legislature refused to delay Tuesday's primary election, formally rejecting a call from the state's Democratic governor to halt in-person voting amid the coronavirus pandemic Even in times of crisis, the GOP effort to suppress voting continues. Shameful. May each member of the WIGOPSenate feel the full effects of COVID personally and individually as they put millions of those in Wisconsin in harms way. CAN'T win without voter suppression, GOP.
430,000 People Have Traveled From China to U.S. Since Coronavirus SurfacedThere were 1,300 direct flights to 17 cities before President Trump’s travel restrictions. Since then, nearly 40,000 Americans and other authorized travelers have made the trip, some this past week and many with spotty screening. 🙄Which one is worse? Trump or Xi? He is such the rascal.
Acting U.S. Navy chief says fired ship captain may have been 'stupid': officialsActing U.S. Navy Secretary Thomas Modly gave a surprise speech to the crew of the coronavirus-stricken carrier Theodore Roosevelt and defended his decision to fire their revered captain, calling him either 'stupid' or ill-willed, U.S. officials told Reuters. Resign secnav You have no right or standing to lead men, especially our military. Taking care of his ship and sailors and the American people stupid? Eloquent speaking Look I'm against what he did .but he acted in good will. No need for this kind of words