Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Peter Gaynor announced that medical masks are being shipped from the national stockpile, yet he could not provide exact details of the delivery.
In an interview, he said, “They’re shipping today, they shipped yesterday, they’ll ship tomorrow.”
When asked about the number of masks the federal government has right now, Gaynor answered, “it is a dynamic and fluid operation,” that he could not give a “rough number.”
He also firmly expressed that his “mission is operational coordination.”
Gaynor downplayed the interviewer’s suggestion that the government’s inability to provide a number may send a negative message to the public.
He answered, “I’m not sure it’s about an exact number.”
He also advised facilities needing urgent supplies that “if you find it on the market, go ahead and buy it.”
According to top healthcare officials, the country does not have enough medical equipment supplies such as masks, gowns and gloves as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise.
Businesses have been donating equipment and supplies to hospitals that reports shortages upon treating patients afflicted with COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the federal government has been sending supplies from the national stockpile from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and closely working with private companies to speed up production.
Last week, the Department of Defense announced that it would free up five million masks in their own stockpile to send to hospitals.
“The demand on these critical items is not only nationally, it’s globally. So, we’ve been shipping. We shipped today, we’re going to ship tomorrow. We’re linking supplies, not only from the national stockpile, but from vendors and commercial donations,” he added.
“And it’s just not about the federal government buying it. It’s also about those hospitals and other facilities, governors that, if you find it on the market, go ahead and buy it. FEMA will reimburse you for it.”