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Masks and other protective equipment 'running low again' as pandemic hospitalizations surge

Masks and other protective equipment 'running low again' as pandemic hospitalizations surge
Image via Screengrab.

Two weeks ago we were told that the Trump administration was allegedly attempting to replenish basic medical supplies in the Strategic National Stockpile, building up supplies of masks and other equipment before an expected fall "second wave" of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The not-terribly-urgent-seeming stockpile effort, however, was based on a few key Trump Team assumptions. One: They were planning to build up a "90-day supply" of medical equipment based on "the worst 30 days" of the pandemic so far, meaning so far as in the first pandemic peak in April and May. Two: It would take until October to get that 90-day supply assuming nothing happened in, say, July to screw up those plans. Yeah, oops.

The Associated Press is now reporting that protective equipment such as masks is "running low again" as cases in hospitals in Arizona, Texas, California, Florida, and most places between escalate in an exponential fashion. The president of National Nurses United told AP that there are "still shortages" of gowns, masks, and other equipment, and nurses are "still being told to reuse them." And the Trump official in charge of procuring those supplies told Congress only last week that a quarter of U.S. states have less than a 30-day supply.

Any casual look at the latest charts shows that the pandemic has now escalated far above what officials were counting as a "worst" scenario back in June. And it's looking increasingly unlikely that the Strategic National Stockpile isn't going to be needed, on a large scale, before October.

For those of you in the back rows: That means we're boned.

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