FEMA chief acknowledges medical supply shortage, says 'global problem'

Gaynor: 'Shipped yesterday, they'll ship tomorrow'

St. Barnabas Hospital, Bronx, New York
(Misha Friedman/Getty Images
Last Updated:
March 22, 2020 - 11:59pm

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’ top official on Sunday acknowledged a shortage of coronavirus-related medical equipment but said it’s a “global problem” that cannot be solved by the federal government taking over state procurement efforts. 

“We’re going to try to meet every need in the nation,” FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor said on ABC’s “This Week.” “But a word of caution, the supplies that governors are looking for are the same supplies that every other country in the world is looking for, so this is a global problem.” 

FEMA is among the lead federal agencies in the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic.  

Health care providers in hospitals and other facilities say the shortage of such supplies as test kits, ventilators and masks are putting them and others at risk of getting the deadly infection and that shortages could create a dire situation. 

The most pressing shortage appears to be with the masks.

Gaynor said hundreds of millions of masks are quickly coming from such places as the federal stockpile, vendors and donations.

"They're shipping today, they shipped yesterday, they'll ship tomorrow," he said.