U.S. emergency medical stockpile nearly out of protective gear as demand rises -officials

Written by Yahoo | Source: Yahoo-US | April 01, 2020 01:29 AM

WASHINGTON, March 31 (Reuters) - An emergency stockpile of medical equipment maintained by the U.S. government has nearly run out of protective gear that could be useful to combat the coronavirus pandemic, according to two officials with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The near-exhausted supply includes masks, respirators, gloves, gowns and face shields, the officials said. A small amount of gear has been set aside for federal first responders, according to one of the officials, both of whom requested anonymity to discuss the matter.

The U.S. Strategic National Stockpile aims to provide medical supplies during emergencies so severe they cause shortages. But states across the country have called on the federal government in recent weeks to send them large quantities of gear to help hospitals deal with surging cases of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus.

The United States leads the world in confirmed coronavirus cases, with more than 188,000 infections and 3,873 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, a Democrat, also said on Tuesday that the stockpile was empty, calling it a "disturbing" development.


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