Florida is poised to run out of medical supplies necessary in the fight against the coronavirus.
That was the stark message in a letter from 14 of Florida’s 27 members of Congress to Vice President Mike Pence.
The ask: to “fulfill the requests made by Director Jared Moskowitz of the Florida Division of Emergency Management for vital medical supplies, equipment, and personnel required to protect healthcare professionals, treat patients, and combat the spread of COVID-19.”
People of advanced age and tourists, argue the members of Congress, make the state especially vulnerable.
“The State of Florida has a massive influx of tourism, which escalates the risk of spreading the virus to the 4.4 million residents over the age of 65 — the most likely to require hospitalization and intensive care.
“Separating healthy patients from those who are receiving treatment is imperative. Florida is requesting 5,000 ventilators, DMAT teams, mobile ICUs, 5,000 field cots and medical personnel with experience dealing with outbreaks,” the delegation members add.
Florida’s struggles are heightened by the fact that protective gear is not used in retirement homes.
To that end, more is needed including “100,000 16oz bottles of hand sanitizer, 50,000 bottles of 2oz hand sanitizer, 3,150,000 N95 masks, 800,000 Tyvek Coveralls, 1,150,000 gloves, 300,000 goggles, 1,300,000 gowns, and 1,150,000 respirator masks equal to N95 masks to distribute to these facilities and hospitals across the State.”
Resource scarcity is not a Florida-only problem, as Division of Emergency Management head Moskowitz joked on Twitter Thursday.
Q: Who are you competing against for resources?
A: Everyone but Antarctica
— Jared Moskowitz (@JaredEMoskowitz) March 19, 2020
Help may be on the way.
President Donald Trump ramped up the United States’ “war against the Chinese virus” Wednesday, invoking the Defense Production Act and saying the economy is on a “wartime footing.”
“We have targets for certain pieces of equipments, masks … we’ve ordered millions of them. Respirators … ventilators,” Trump said.
Republicans and Democrats signed on to the letter.
Reps. Matt Gaetz, Ted Deutch, Al Lawson, Michael Waltz, Gus Bilirakis, Bill Posey, Mario Diaz-Balart, Val Demings, Francis Rooney, Daniel Webster, Greg Steube, Charlie Crist, Ted Yoho, Ross Spano and John Rutherford all signed on.