If a second wave of COVID-19 hits like experts predict, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) may not have sufficient masks and other medical gear to fight the disease, VA officials acknowledge.
Dr. Richard Stone, the top health official at VA, said at the height of the pandemic its 170 medical centers were going through 250,000 N95 masks per day—a “daunting amount.”
Now, the VA has about a 30-day supply of gear including masks and gowns but it really needs a 60-day supply, he said, partly to address growing demands as the VA moves to fully reopen its medical centers due to the easing of stay-at-home orders nationwide. To handle a possible second wave of COVID-19, it would need a six-month supply. “A future pandemic wave may test all of us in our preparation,” Stone told the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.
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