U.S. Medical Stockpile Running Low

by Jan Frazier

Washington, D.C. (Washington Insider Magazine) – According to the internal data gotten by Politico, we have been fighting the pandemic for over 18 months. Still, the Strategic National Stockpile is well below what the federal government thinks it should be. There are supplies of medical products that are critically low.

A stockpile has been assembled of N95 respirators, and there are 10 times more ventilators now available for use than at the beginning of the pandemic. However, the U.S. is still short ”hundreds of millions – or more – surgical masks, gloves, and gowns.”

 Statistics from the Department of Health and Human Services tell us that the stockpile targets  — the amounts that the department wants to have on hand — include “265 million gowns, 400 million surgical face masks, and 4.5 billion gloves. But the current inventory includes only 17.5 million gowns, 273 million surgical masks, and 525 million gloves.” Depending upon which item one looks at, it can be anywhere from 6.6 to 68 percent short of the stock that is necessary.

President Biden’s administration is still attempting to assist other countries that need supplies to fight the pandemic, especially providing oxygen for some of the sickest patients. We have been able to fill only a small amount of gas and the materials needed to administer the gas. 

We have recently shipped to India 1,500 oxygen cylinders and Nepal has gotten 1,000 cylinders. According to a senior U.S. Official, Nepal requested around 20,000 cylinders. We fell far below the amount needed in Nepal.

The U.S., as well as the rest of the world, seems a bit unprepared for a second year of the pandemic. “It also underlines the difficulties facing the Biden administration, and governments and health care providers worldwide, in meeting the demand for key medical products” during the second surge of Covid-19.

Charity Dean, California’s former assistant director of the Department of Public Health, said, “Because we did not have the kind of centralized intelligence to identify, test for and execute rapid containment, the U.S. missed our opportunity to contain the virus. Without a technology revolution…the U.S. will not be prepared for another pandemic. Right now, the system cannot move as fast as the pathogen does.”


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