From Vox: America still doesn’t have enough N95 masks. Five months into the pandemic, the Trump administration hasn’t taken charge of a supply chain that’s been stretched thin.
But national coordination of a supply chain was never set up to effectively distribute personal protective equipment and other supplies, despite calls for the federal government to step in. The National Strategic Stockpile didn’t have a large amount of backup supplies to begin with, and it wasn’t set up to respond to the full needs of a pandemic. Without leadership from the federal government — which insisted that supplies should be handled on the local and state level — governors and hospital systems have been arranging their own private purchases of personal protective equipment, often directly competing with one another. It’s an approach that Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker recently likened to the Hunger Games.