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US Coronavirus-related FEMA docs show shortage of medical supplies requested by states

22:10  02 april  2020
22:10  02 april  2020 Source:   foxnews.com

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New documents released on Thursday by the Democrats on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform show that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has provided only a small fraction of the personal protective equipment (PPE) requested by states in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

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The documents indicate that the agency delivered less than 10 percent of the promised PPE supplies to Delaware, Washington D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia – and in some case has failed to deliver any of certain supplies.

“The new documents we are releasing today confirm the urgent warnings we have been hearing from our nation’s governors and health care professionals for weeks—they do not have enough personal protective equipment and medical supplies, and the administration has provided only a tiny fraction of what they desperately need,” Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., the committee’s chairwoman, said in a statement.

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CORONAVIRUS IN THE US: STATE-BY-STATE BREAKDOWN

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The report, which examined a period until March 30, found that of the 5.2 million N95 respirator masks promised to the states and Washington D.C., only 445,000 had been delivered. Only 991,000 pairs of the 194 million medical gloves promised had been given to the state by the end of March and none of the 15,000 body bags had been received.

“The president must act immediately to take all steps within his authority to get personal protective equipment and medical supplies to our nation’s frontline responders who are risking everything to save their fellow Americans,” Maloney said.

While much of the focus has centered on the lack of ventilators in the country during the crisis, shortages of N95 masks and other medical supplies have also become a chief worry among health care workers battling the virus in hospitals across the nation. Both the federal and state governments are at times bidding against each other to purchase the much-needed supplies.

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The first N95 medical masks to reach the U.S. since February are arriving by plane and ship this week, with trucks standing ready to speed them to coronavirus hot spots around the country.

In recent days, 24 pallets of the masks arrived at the port of Los Angeles, sent from a 3M factory in Singapore, according to trade records from Panjiva, a company that tracks trade data. FEMA flew 130,000 of the special masks on a cargo plane that arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport from Southeast Asia, and DirectRelief, a humanitarian aid organization, was expecting 80,000 to arrive at Los Angeles International Airport any day now.

CLICK FOR COMPLETE COVERAGE OF THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK

It's not nearly enough to meet demand. As COVID-19 cases soared this month, the U.S. was hit with a critical shortage of medical supplies, which often are made in China. Until this week, the most recent delivery of medical-grade N95 masks arrived from China more than a month ago, on Feb. 19.

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Slideshow by photo services

N95 masks are used in industrial settings as well as hospitals, and they filter out 95 percent of all airborne particles, including ones too tiny to be blocked by regular masks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told medical providers to use bandanas if they run out of the masks, while volunteers with sewing skills are using publicly shared patterns to bolster supplies.

Doctors, nurses and other health care workers across the United States are frustrated that they have to care for sick people without proper equipment. Some have held demonstrations; others are buying their own supplies.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Trump administration weighs lifting coronavirus aid freeze .
Agencies are discussing a draft presidential memorandum outlining the proposal, which has yet to land on the president’s desk. The memo is titled “Essential Medical Supplies for Foreign Assistance” and would allow the direct procurement of some supplies for foreign countries, according to the officials. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

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