The United States is the richest country in the history of the world.
So why are we running out of face masks and other protective gear for our medical workers?
Medical grade face masks cost an average of 75 cents per mask.
One would think that getting enough face masks at 75 cents a piece would be easy for the richest country in the world.
Yet… there is a shortage of N95 masks in hospitals coast to coast.
While many Democrats and members of the far left media are quick to attempt to blame this on President Trump, Newt Gringrich has artfully exposed Biden and Obama’s role in the current shortage.
See Gingrich’s blistering question below:
Gingrich, who was Speaker of the House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999, is well versed in the inner functionings of government.
He noted that Biden and Obama failed to replace the face masks after using 100 million to fight the swine flu epidemic in 2009.
The Obama-Biden administration used all 100 million masks in the national stockpile, but after the crisis was over, no one moved to replace them.
The New York Times confirms Gingrich's pointed statement:
Few in the protective equipment industry are surprised by the shortages, because they’ve been predicted for years. In 2005, the George W. Bush administration called for the coordination of domestic production and stockpiling of protective gear in preparation for pandemic influenza. In 2006, Congress approved funds to add protective gear to a national strategic stockpile — among other things, the stockpile collected 52 million surgical face masks and 104 million N95 respirator masks.
But about 100 million masks in the stockpile were deployed in 2009 in the fight against the H1N1 flu pandemic, and the government never bothered to replace them. This month, Alex Azar, secretary of health and human services, testified that there are only about 40 million masks in the stockpile — around 1 percent of the projected national need.
The Blaze also confirms reports that the Obama-Biden administration raced through 100 million medical masks but never replenished the national stockpile:
Then, in 2009, the H1N1 (swine flu) outbreak swept through the United States, infecting 60 million Americans, hospitalizing 274,304, and killing 12,469, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
During the outbreak, the Obama administration pulled roughly three-fourths of the masks from the stockpile to manage the spread, but never replenished the supply.
Here's a crucial excerpt buried near the bottom of a recent Bloomberg News story:
"The national stockpile used to be somewhat more robust. In 2006, Congress provided supplemental funds to add 104 million N95 masks and 52 million surgical masks in an effort to prepare for a flu pandemic. But after the H1N1 influenza outbreak in 2009, which triggered a nationwide shortage of masks and caused a 2- to 3-year backlog orders for the N95 variety, the stockpile distributed about three-quarters of its inventory and didn't build back the supply."
Another article published by the Los Angeles Times last week made the same point but went even further by detailing how the Obama administration failed to restock the supply even after two separate organizations urged them to take action:
"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."
Why does this matter?
The nation now only has 12 million N95 masks in the national reserve.
Conservative estimates predict that 300 million masks will be needed nationwide. Some estimates go as high as 400 million.
President Trump is now calling on businesses with the capability of creating masks to join the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many private companies and every day citizens have stepped up to produce masks for our medical professionals.
There have been some liberal commentators who have pushed back, noting that face masks have a shelf life of 5 years.
After 5 years, the material begins to lose its effectiveness in preventing the transmission of germs.
However, the reality is that the Obama-Biden administration should have replenished the national stockpile, then replaced the expired face masks.
The Western Journal's Joe Saunders explains the timeline and how the shortage can be directly attributed to the previous administration:
As some users pointed out, the masks have a shelf life of five years, according to 3M, a manufacturer of the equipment.
However, as others noted, if the masks had been replaced after being used in the 2009-10 outbreak, they would have been in the cycle to be replaced again.
Had they been replaced again five years later, the chances are very good that instead of a shortage, the Strategic National Stockpile would either be sitting on an almost-new freshly supplied batch of the N95 masks or have more already in the re-supply pipeline.
If the stockpile was stuck with masks past their shelf life because new ones hadn’t been ordered, the media would be having a field day with “exposes” about Trump administration incompetence right now.
Instead, the shortage goes back to the Obama years — an arrogant administration that showed every sign of not caring a bit about the years that were to come after it, from the disastrous Iran nuclear deal to the travesty of justice and insult to common sense known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy.
But when Obama’s to blame, the media’s blind spot just keeps getting wider.
Joe Biden has been making the media rounds lately.
Will any of the hosts ask him in his role of the N95 mask shortage?
President Trump hasn't shied away from any questions from the press. He is transparent in how he and his administration are dealing with the pandemic.
Gingrich was right to turn the spotlight on Biden and Obama!