As per 3/20/2020 ProPublica report by Lydia DePillis, Mike Spies, Joshua Kaplan and Caroline Chen, “Here’s Why Florida Got All the Emergency Medical Supplies It Requested While Other States Did Not”
“The Department of Health and Human Services has come under fire as several states’ requests for supplies from the emergency medical stockpile go unfulfilled. A chaotic distribution plan is buckling under a big problem: Nobody has enough.”
“On March 11, Florida requested a cache of emergency supplies from the federal government to protect its medical workers against the novel coronavirus.”
“Three days later, the state got everything it wanted.” (Some was expired)
“Other states had only tiny slivers of their requests fulfilled, including some that had asked for them earlier than Florida. Oregon and Oklahoma received only about 10%; New Jersey got less than 6%.”
“This disparity has not been lost on the states that feel shortchanged in their requests from the Strategic National Stockpile, a trove of supplies managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.”
“Officials fear that hospitals will be overwhelmed by far more patients than they can safely treat if the current pace of infections continues. This month, officials estimated that if the outbreak lasts a year, the U.S. could need 3.5 billion of the N95 masks that protect health care workers. The national stockpile had only 12 million N95 masks and 30 million surgical masks on hand when the crisis began.”
“While it may appear like the federal government is playing favorites, federal officials said their decisions were based on their best assessment of relative needs. HHS told states this week that it is giving out 25% of the stockpile to states according to population size, and sending another 25% strategically to states with the most severe outbreaks, which can be used for needs such as testing passengers on cruise ships brought back to shore. The remaining 50% will be held in “strategic reserve,” to be used if there’s a huge spike of critical needs around the country.”
“The inability of the United States to deploy widespread testing for the coronavirus has further complicated how the supplies are being apportioned because health officials do not have a complete picture of where the virus is circulating most widely. But many states, worried that their case counts are about to soar and their hospitals will be swamped, have been unsatisfied with their allotment.”
“The system appears to roughly conform to states’ populations, rather than the size of their requests. Florida, a state of 21 million, got all 180,000 N95 masks it wanted. Oregon, a state of 4 million, only received 40,000 of the 400,000 masks it requested, and New Jersey, a state of 9 million, got 85,000 of the 2.9 million masks it feels it needs.”
“It is hard to assess what constitutes a reasonable request. All states are starting with different stockpiles of supplies. Some have been hit harder than others by the virus, and some anticipate they might be. Each state is trying to secure as much as possible for its health workers, who are raising alarms that they are running out of basic supplies.”
“This pandemic will require enormous amounts of personal protective equipment, or PPE, for health care workers in part because the symptoms of COVID-19 are not unusual — it’s hard to quickly distinguish a COVID-19 patient from someone suffering from the flu. Anyone doctors suspect of being infected with the coronavirus needs to be treated with great care, lest the infection spread. Many items, like gloves and some types of masks, are designed to be used once then thrown away, but some hospitals and long-term care facilities are already experimenting with reusing their equipment to stretch their supplies.”
“It’s very frustrating and very scary to hear the numbers,” said Kimberly Green-Yates, chief operating officer of Diakonos Group, which runs about 20 skilled nursing and long-term care facilities across Oklahoma. “The people we take care of are the most vulnerable. Without PPE, we can’t keep them safe.”
“Green-Yates said that as soon as her company heard about the deaths in Washington state in a nursing facility, Diakonos ordered a large supply of PPE and locked it away for emergencies. Some of the protective equipment, she said, was used up during this year’s flu season. “If [the virus] gets in, our supply is going to be gone in days,” she explained. “Then what do you do? … We’re working our absolute hardest to keep our elders safe right now. And how are we supposed to do that if we don’t even have equipment?”
“Florida, which has regular experience with hurricanes, isn’t waiting on the sidelines, despite having received its entire wishlist. On Monday 3/17/2020, the state’s Division of Emergency Management made a second request, saying that it was still not sufficiently prepared to handle the looming pandemic; it asked for 2 million N95 masks, 500,000 gloves, 500,000 gowns and 250,000 coveralls. The division also asked for thousands of ventilators and hospital beds, as well five mobile intensive care units.”
States Are Fighting for Themselves
“Several states have voiced their dismay about how the stockpile is being distributed.
“The support we have received from the administration is woefully insufficient,” Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-N.J., told ProPublica. “Federal officials’ communications are barely flickering. … If our health workers, doctors and nurses especially, don’t have masks, or gloves, or cotton swabs, lives will be lost — full stop.”
“The crucial medical devices needed to keep patients alive will also be in short supply, Redlener said. He said he understood that the reserve had at least 70,000 ventilators when he served on an advisory committee in 2016. The current total is fewer than 13,000, the National Institutes of Allergies and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci has said, with a few thousand more at the Department of Defense. Hospitals, which have switched to a just-in-time inventory system that allows them to save money by keeping less equipment in reserve, have about 160,000 ventilators nationwide. Redlener estimates that twice that number may ultimately be needed.”
“At the moment, states aren’t receiving much in the way of assurances from the federal government. During a press conference on 3/19/2020, Trump said that while domestic manufacturers of face masks have gone into overdrive and the White House is helping, governors need to work to find supplies themselves.”
“The government’s not supposed to be out there buying vast amounts of items and then shipping, we’re not a shipping clerk,” Trump said. “As with testing, the governors are supposed to be doing it.”
Possibly because they have the largest population of elderly people, next is Maine.
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Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
There’s always something in IT for him!! I live in Florida … he ain’t getting my vote!! Arrgghh … “As per 3/20/2020 ProPublica report by Lydia DePillis, Mike Spies, Joshua Kaplan and Caroline Chen, “Here’s Why Florida Got All the Emergency Medical Supplies It Requested While Other States Did Not”.
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When the first COVID-19 outbreak occurred in the Seattle area, Trump called Washington State governor a “snake” in the same breath he smirked tRumpish hubris at Democrats for fabricating a hoax. Today Washington State is asking anyone with a home sewing machine to sew face masks. Additionally, they’ve legislated surrender of all personal protection supplies belonging to veterinarians, dentists, nail salons, health spas and construction companies to medical centres in need of supplies. Sigh.
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