Pete Gaynor, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator, of the agency now coordinating the federal government’s coronavirus pandemic response, managed to sidestep very reasonable and pertinent questions about how many masks are actually being sent to hospitals across the nation as healthcare workers plea for supplies on not one, but two major shows this Sunday. Let’s check out the clips below.
On ABC’s “This Week,” Martha Raddatz asked Gaynor to breakdown how masks are available via a stockpile handled by the federal government, and beyond that, when said stockpile would make its way to states. Her overall points: If there is still a stockpile, what’s the hold-up on getting supplies out? Isn’t it urgent now? What type of mask are we talking about, anyway? And, as she voiced the question everyone is wondering, “How are we in such bad shape at this point in terms of supplies?”
Reasonable questions, to which Gaynor offered mostly vagueness. “All those supplies, to all the demands, all the asks, all the governance, every day, we are—we’re prepared to go to zero in the stockpile to meet demand,” he replied. When asked for details on which masks, he said, “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 or what every single city is doing.”
“We find more and more masks to ship,” he said. “We are trying to focus those shipments on the most critical hotspots of the country, places like New York City, Washington state, California.”
He also stressed that people without symptoms shouldn’t be asking for tests, though it remains to be seen how so many celebrities and GOP officials have gotten tested, all while allegedly not having a single symptom.
“You’ve still got some in the stockpile, I wonder why that stockpile hasn’t been depleted?” Raddatz asked. “Have you seen the urgent pleas from healthcare workers?”
“I am well aware of the high demand for these items,” Gaynor replied, effectively clarifying nothing.
“My focus is today,” he added.
Here are those clips.
On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Gaynor avoided directly answering questions about how many masks hospitals can count on, as well as when they’ll actually be delivered to states in need.
"How many masks does the federal government have right now and when can they get to local hospitals?" Jake Tapper asked, to which Gaynor replied, "When it comes to supplies, we have been shipping from the national stockpile for weeks… We've been shipping, we shipped today, we're going to ship tomorrow." He then insisted he couldn’t provide a "rough number."
“I can tell you that it’s happening every day,” he continued. “My mission is operational coordination of all these things and that’s my focus. Whether it’s supplies, vents, you name it, we’re finding it, identifying it, and shipping it to those who have requested it.”
Tapper pointed out that the lack of a concrete number “alarms” the general public (if not medical workers), to which Gaynor replied, "I'm not sure it's about an exact number,” although, for the healthcare workers bravely facing the coronavirus pandemic every day, an exact number is quite possibly what “it” is about right now. He again suggested that if Americans don’t have symptoms, they shouldn’t get a test.
Here are those clips.
He also said, in spite of Trump’s claim that he “put [the Defense Production Act] into gear” on Thursday night, that Trump hasn’t actually done so in an effort to make masks, ventilators and related supplies. Why? Because those supplies are being donated, apparently.
In this time of misinformation and confusion, make sure to check out best practices from the CDC and the WHO to protect yourself and your loved ones as possible.