States are bidding against each other to obtain the desperately needed medical devices from private manufacturers. This comes as the federal government is sitting on a stockpile of ventilators.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has nearly 10,000 ventilators sitting idle. And less than half of the 2,000 military ventilators promised by the Pentagon have been deployed.
The slow deployment of ventilators underscores the ways in which the sprawling federal bureaucracy has fallen short in the crisis.
Demand for medical equipment far outpaces the current supply, and the stockpiles that do exist aren’t enough for the hardest-hit areas.