June 3, 2023

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Coronavirus: Pentagon hanging on to 2,000 ventilators because it hasn't been told where to send them

of military stocks, and Pentagon officials say that despite offering them out two weeks ago, they have not been told where to ship them.

The US is suffering from a lack of medical supplies amid the coronaviruspandemic and ventilators have become a high priority, as they are used to help treat patients with the virus.

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have to decide where the stocks will be used most effectively and then send the address to the Defence Department, before they can be shipped.

Lieutenant General Giovanni Tuck told a small group of reporters that “there was discussion with HHS on where to send them. And then they said ‘hey wait, we’re trying to take a look at the demand that’s required,’ and so we were asked to just wait while there was just some sorting through on that”.

“And I won’t speak on behalf of them, but we were in a position to provide 2,000,” he added.

Mr Tuck explained that the ventilators are ready to be shipped, but they haven’t provided any “because as of last night, we were asked to just hold on the ones that we have, and then we will push them when they’re ready for them”.

In a statement released on Saturday, the Pentagon revealed that they had put in orders for 8,000 more ventilators, as part of their efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Department continues to aggressively partner with the defence industry to mitigate impacts from the COVID-19 national emergency,” the statement read.

“This week DLA modified an existing contract for the procurement of 8,000 ventilators from four vendors worth an estimated $84.4 million.”

The US government is planning on shipping 1,400 ventilators by early May, with the rest phased over a number of months. The Independent has requested comment from the White House.

According to a tracking project hosted by Johns Hopkins University, upwards of 184,183 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the US. The death toll has reached at least 3,721.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended a two-week ban on gatherings of more than 50 people as part of the battle to contain the spread of the contagion.

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