In the aftermath of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, the Obama administration failed to refill crucial medical supplies and personal protective equipment after depleting the Strategic National Stockpile.
After the swine flu epidemic in 2009, a safety-equipment industry association and a federally sponsored task force both recommended that depleted supplies of N95 respirator masks, which filter out airborne particles, be replenished by the stockpile, which is maintained by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
That didn’t happen, according to Charles Johnson, president of the International Safety Equipment Assn.
The stockpile drew down about 100 million masks during the 2009 epidemic, Johnson said.
“Our association is unaware of any major effort to restore the stockpile to cover that drawdown,” he said.
President Trump doesn't plan on doing the same and will announce Thursday his administration will work to ensure the United States is prepared for the next public health crisis. In March, he previewed the plans at the White House.
“Our goal for the future must be to have American medicine for American patients, American supplies for American hospitals, and American equipment for our great American heroes. Now, both parties must unite to ensure the United States is truly an independent nation in every sense of the word," President Trump said.
“We should never be reliant on a foreign country for the means of our own survival. I think we’ve learned a lot. This crisis has underscored just how critical it is to have strong borders and a robust manufacturing sector," he continued. "For three years, we’ve embarked on a great national project to secure our immigration system and bring back our manufacturing jobs."
During an interview with Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo Thursday morning, President Trump reiterated that he's been right along about the danger of supply chains overseas, particularly in China.
"Look, there’s nothing good about what happened with the plague, okay? Especially the death. But the one thing is, it said, Trump was right,” he said.
"These stupid supply chains that are all over the world,” Trump continued. “One little piece of the world goes bad, and the whole thing is messed up...I said we shouldn’t have supply chains, we should have them all in the United States. We have the companies to do it. And if we don’t, we can do that.”
While China was telling the entire world Wuhan coronavirus wasn't transmissible from human-to-human, the Chinese Communist Party was stockpiling personal protective equipment in order to exploit the coming pandemic.
"We know for a critical six week period of time China used its influence at the World Health Organization to hide the virus from the world," White House Trader Advisor Peter Navarro said in a recent interview.
"But here's what I think should be very disturbing to every American. During that period of time, that six week interval when they were hiding this virus from the world, China went from a net exporter of personal protective equipment, they are the largest producer of that in the world, to a large net importer. They basically went around and vacuumed up virtually all of the PPE around the world, including a lot in this country which was being shared for humanitarian reasons, sharing our PPE with them. What that did was leave people in New York, Milan and everywhere in between, defenseless," he continued. "China is sitting on that hoard, PPE where it cornered the market and is profiteering. I have access that are coming across my desk where .50 cent masks made in China are being sold to hospitals here in America for as much as $8."
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