FEMA administrator: Shortage of health-care supplies a 'global problem'

FEMA administrator: Shortage of health-care supplies a 'global problem'
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Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Peter Gaynor is calling the shortage of health-care supplies “a global problem” as the coronavirus outbreak around the world increases demand.

ABC’s Martha Raddatz asked Gaynor on Sunday how medical workers became desperate for “critical supplies.”

“We’re going to try to meet every need in the nation,” he replied on “This Week.”

“But a word of caution, the supplies that governors are looking for are the same supplies that every other country in the world is looking for, so this is a global problem,” he added.

Raddatz pressed the FEMA administrator on the shipment of medical masks, in particular, asking whether hospitals will “get them in time before the health system is overwhelmed.”

"They're shipping today, they shipped yesterday, they'll ship tomorrow," Gaynor said.

“When you say ‘they,’ what do you mean? How many? Which masks, the new masks?” Raddatz asked. 

"I mean, it is hundreds of thousands of millions of things that we're shipping from the stockpile. I can't give you the details about what every single state of what every single city is doing," Gaynor said. "But I'm telling you that we are shipping from our national stockpile, we're shipping from vendors, we're shipping from donations. It is happening. The demand is great."

Gaynor declined to give an estimate of how many masks had been in the stockpile and why they had not already been shipped out. 

"We are shipping. All those supplies, to all the demands, all the asks, all the governors, every day, we are -- we're prepared to go to zero in the stockpile to meet demand," Gaynor said.

He added that his agency wasn't invited to join the White House coronavirus task force until last week.

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Residents in multiple states have been ordered to shelter in their homes to prevent community spread of the disease. Political leaders have expressed concerns that health-care facilities will soon become overwhelmed, with not enough supplies to care for the growing number of infections.

The virus has infected more than 26,700 people in the country and killed at least 340. About 176 people have recovered, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.