FEMA administrator Pete Gaynor couldn’t give a clear-cut answer when asked about key supply shortages as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to overwhelm hospitals, during his Sunday morning TV appearances.
After telling CNN that FEMA has been shipping from the national stockpile for weeks, Jake Tapper pressed Gaynor on specific numbers on how many masks the federal government has been able to acquire and whether the masks have been shipped to hospitals.
“It is a dynamic and fluid operation,” Gaynor said. “The President appointed FEMA five days ago to manage federal operations and since I’ve been here, we’ve been shipping continuously from federal warehouses, and again, connecting, you know, those governors that need supplies to those who have it in the commercial sector.”
When asked if he has an estimate, Gaynor responded that he can’t give a rough number, but that “it’s happening every day.”
Tapper then pointed out how the inability of the federal government to give a number in terms of masks alarms doesn’t fill people with confidence.
Gaynor replied that he’s “not sure it’s about an exact number,” before urging the public against getting tested for the coronavirus if they’re not exhibiting symptoms.
“I ask every American: if you have symptoms, go get a test,” Gaynor said. “If you don’t need a test because you don’t have symptoms, don’t do it. That helps us. It helps governors, it helps your local community.”
Watch Gaynor’s remarks on CNN below:
FEMA administrator Pete Gaynor can't give a rough number on how many masks the federal government has been able to acquire pic.twitter.com/421ZYiXvcY
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) March 22, 2020
Gaynor similarly couldn’t provide a clear answer to ABC News Sunday morning, saying that masks have been distributed without providing details regarding timeline and quantity.
After telling ABC News’ Martha Raddatz that there are “millions of things” being shipped from the national stockpile, Gaynor said he can’t give details about what every single state or what every single city is doing.
Pressed about how many masks were in the strategic stockpile, Gaynor reiterated that “there are still supplies” in it and that “we’re prepared to go to zero in the stockpile to meet demand.”
Gaynor then went on to urge the public to not get tested for coronavirus if they’re not exhibiting symptoms.
Watch Gaynor’s remarks on ABC below:
Pressed on when the national stockpile of masks will be distributed to health care systems, FEMA administrator Pete Gaynor tells @martharaddatz "it is happening," without offering a concrete timeline or quantity currently shipped. https://t.co/0KKTBpoknR pic.twitter.com/5orNp91Zta
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) March 22, 2020