Gillibrand presses Trump about unequal distribution of medical supplies

Posted 2 April 2020 at 10:23 am

Press Release, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand sent a letter to President Trump demanding an explanation for why New York State, which has substantially more confirmed COVID-19 cases than any other state, has not received its full allotment of PPE and medical supplies, while other states, such as Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Florida, have reportedly had their requests filled completely.

Gillibrand called on Trump to deliver clarity and transparency on how the Federal Emergency Management Agency is allocating resources and provide information on where medical supplies have been allocated thus far.

“President Trump and FEMA must answer questions about their process for allocating resources, their methodology, and why states with significantly fewer cases of COVID-19 than New York are having their requests filled completely, while our hospitals are still waiting on these critical supplies,” said Gillibrand. “The notion that certain states have greater access to the federal stockpile of medical supplies than others is deeply disturbing. New York is facing more cases of COVID-19 than any other state, and it’s time the federal government’s delivered the resources to the crisis we’re facing.”

As The Washington Post noted in its original story, certain states like Kentucky, Oklahoma and Florida, have received 100 percent, and in some cases more, of the medical supplies that they requested, while other states like New York, New Jersey, Michigan, and others, are still short. The Post noted, for example, that “Oklahoma received 120,000 face shields despite requesting only 16,000, according to the state’s health department. North Carolina, by contrast, requested 500,000 medical coveralls and received 306, state records show.”

Multiple New York hospitals have reported that their orders for PPE have been diverted to other recipients or that they cannot successfully procure medical equipment and PPE because they are being outbid by the federal government. This makes FEMA’s allocations to states all the more important. Governor Andrew Cuomo has stated that New York needs 40,000 ventilators for our hospitals, but FEMA has only provided 4,400 from the Strategic National Stockpile.

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