THE Federal government's stockpile of life-saving coronavirus personal protective equipment is 90 percent empty.
The Department of Health and Human Services confirmed federal documents released Wednesday by the House Oversight and Reform Committee showed about 90 percent of PPE in the stockpile practically depleted.
The Strategic National Stockpile holds N95 respirators, surgical masks, face shields, gowns and other medical supplies needed to protect essential medical workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, released a statement Wednesday about the inadequate amount of critical supplies.
She said: “Now that the national stockpile has been depleted of critical equipment, it appears that the Administration is leaving states to fend for themselves, to scour the open market for these scarce supplies, and to compete with each other and federal agencies in a chaotic, free-for-all bidding war.
The remaining 10 percent of the stockpile's PPE is reserved for federal workers and will not be distributed to states, the committee said.
Maloney added: “The President failed to bring in FEMA early on, failed to name a national commander for this crisis, and failed to fully utilize the authorities Congress gave him under the Defense Production Act to procure and manage the distribution of critical supplies.
"He must take action now to address these deficiencies.”
HHS revealed this week its first ventilator contract with General Motors under the Defense Production Act.
GM's $489.4million contract calls for 30,000 ventilators to be transported to the the Strategic National Stockpile by the end of August 2020.
More than 6,132 ventilators will be delivered by June 1, 2020.
In a Thursday press release, HHS Secretary Alex Azar stated: "By rating contracts under the DPA, HHS is helping manufacturers like GM get the supplies they need to produce ventilators as quickly as possible, while also ensuring that these ventilators are routed through the Strategic National Stockpile to where they’re needed most.
"We’re grateful to the GM team for working with the federal government to expand our nation’s supply of ventilators as the pandemic evolves.”
More than 14,700 Americans have died from the deadly virus, with the nation's epicenter in NYC seeing more than 6,200 lives lost.
Last Friday, New York Governor Cuomo said the National Guard will be deployed to move critical ventilators around hard-hit NY as confirmed coronavirus cases soared past 100,000 in-state.
"I am signing an Executive Order allowing the state to take ventilators and PPE from institutions that don't need them now and redeploy them to other parts of the state and other hospitals that do," he said.
Cuomo said the National Guard will be mobilized to move ventilators to where they are most needed.
In a briefing earlier this week, President Donald Trump claimed there was enough in the stockpile to help the continuing coronavirus crisis.
Trump said: “We took over a stockpile where the cupboard was bare and where the testing system was broken and old. And we redid it."
Meanwhile, millions of Americans are awaiting financial relief from a $2.2 trillion stimulus package passed amid the virus crisis.
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The Labor Department revealed another 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment last week - bringing the total number to 16.6 million
The report released on Thursday shows nearly 10 percent of the US labor force is now out of work since COVID-19 slammed the economy.
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