U.S. emergency medical stockpile out of protective gear?

U.S. emergency medical stockpile out of protective gear?

An emergency stockpile of medical equipment maintained by the U.S. government has nearly run out of protective gear that could be useful to combat the coronavirus pandemic, according to two officials with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The near-exhausted supply includes masks, respirators, gloves, gowns and face shields. A small amount of gear has been set aside for federal first responders, Reuters reported.

The U.S. Strategic National Stockpile aims to provide medical supplies during emergencies so severe they cause shortages. But states across the country have called on the federal government in recent weeks to send them large quantities of gear to help hospitals deal with surging cases of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus.

U.S. President Donald Trump contested the idea that the stockpile was "empty" during a White House news conference, saying that equipment was going directly to those in need - a more efficient process.

The United States leads the world in confirmed coronavirus cases, with more than 188,000 infections and 3,873 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

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