FINALLY!

This morning the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that area health personal were reusing safety equipment like gowns and surgical masks…or using a single surgical mask all day which violates health safety standards big time. And may start to use scarves or bandanas in the near future. That is certainly a comforting thought.

Meanwhile we have our President declaring that fighting COVIS-19 is the responsibility of the states and their governors and not so much the federal government. “…we’re not a shipping clerk”!

Well actually, the president and federal government should be shipping clerks because they are sitting on the PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY STRATEGIC NATIONAL STOCKPILE! They do in fact have billions of dollars in medical supplies like masks and gowns and ventilators (reportedly 4,000+ ventilators).

With approximately 200 federal and contract employees, the Strategic National Stockpile is organized to support any public health threat. Stockpile staff represent a variety of specialties, and all work together to ensure the right resources are ready and can get to the right place at the right time.

emphasis mine

This is an initiative of the US Department of Health and Human Services. Why hasn’t it been brought to bear on the COVID-19 pandemic yet?

The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) may, under section 319 of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act, determine that: a) a disease or disorder presents a public health emergency (PHE); or b) that a public health emergency, including significant outbreaks of infectious disease or bioterrorist attacks, otherwise exists.

The Secretary of Health and Human Services declared the coronavirus pandemic a public health emergency on January 31, 2020. Why hasn’t the Strategic National Stockpile been tapped and distributed while we wait for the supply chains to catch up? I don’t imagine they have enough for a major pandemic that we still anticipate…but they should be able to fill the void in the meantime.

Why hasn’t it been brought to bear on the COVID-19 pandemic yet? Well apparently, FINALLY, it has:

Well, while I was researching this post, this article popped up from the Appleton Post-Crescent:

From the federal stockpile, Gov. Tony Evers requested 54,709 N95 respirators, 130,326 surgical masks, 24,816 face shields, 20,233 surgical gowns, 104 coveralls and 72,044 gloves.

But Palm (Andrea Palm, secretary-designee for the state Department of Health Services) said Friday personal protective supplies from the federal emergency stockpile “won’t be enough to meet the needs of our health care facilities at surge capacity.”

On the good news front, local manufacturing power house GE Healthcare announced that they were ramping up production of ventilators at their Madison facilities to meet the new demand for the devices.

btw: I haven’t seen any articles suggesting that the president or any federal officials contacted GE about the possibility of producing additional medical equipment. Just putting that out there.

but then there’s this: The federal government outbid states on critical coronavirus supplies after Trump told governors to get their own medical equipment.

The federal government is outbidding states on orders of critical medical equipment necessary to aid patients and protect medical professionals from coronavirus. 

States are losing out on crucial equipment orders even though President Donald Trump directed them to get their own supplies, rather than relying on help from the federal government. 

This comes as the US is facing a widespread shortage of equipment, including basic disinfecting products, surgical masks, and life-saving machines like ventilators. 

emphasis mine

Oh wait, the federal government already has a strategic stockpile…wtf?

President Trump, Vice President Pence, and Secretary Azar: Lead, Follow, or Get Out Of The Way!

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