Strategic National Stockpile now far better equipped, US official says

The Strategic National Stockpile is in much better shape than it was at the beginning of the pandemic, Dawn O'Connell, HHS secretary for preparedness and response, told a U.S. Senate panel July 20, The Washington Post reported. 

Ms. O'Connell said the stockpile now contains 35 times as many N95 masks and eight times as many other types of masks as it did when the pandemic began. It also has 17 times as many protective gloves. 

She said all of the N95s in the stockpile were made in the U.S., the Post reported. 

Thanks to the money allotted to replenishing the stockpile included in coronavirus relief packages, "we're beginning to see some progress," Ms. O'Connell told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, according to the Post

But Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., the Senate committee's ranking Repubican, warned that it will be hard to prevent the stockpile from being depleted again because lawmakers may be reluctant to keep providing money to manufacture supplies. 

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