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Thu Mar 19, 2020, 04:23 AM

First responders still can't buy masks- even after Congress passed $8.3 billion in emergency funding [View all]

Source: RawStory

This month, Congress passed an $8.3 billion emergency bill to respond to the coronavirus crisis. The money goes toward developing vaccines, disease surveillance, disaster loans and much more. But none of it goes directly to first responders for the protective gear and supplies they need to safely combat the novel coronavirus.

Last week, ProPublica reported that firefighters, paramedics and emergency medical technicians on the front lines are desperate for such equipment. Some EMTs are begging for masks at local hospitals. Others are rationing gowns and face shields.

The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, which became law March 6, only invests $10 million for “training” of first responders, money they will have to share with hospital employees and other health care workers.
“I think we know how to put our protective gear on,” said Gary Ludwig, chief of the Champaign Fire Department in Illinois, calling that part of the bill “ridiculous.”

Haydon Pitchford, an EMT in Central Virginia, has been searching for the N-95 masks that are recommended to protect against the novel coronavirus. He called the money a “paltry sum” devoted to the wrong purpose. “One would assume we’d need protective equipment for that training to be useful,” he said.


Read more: https://www.rawstory.com/2020/03/first-responders-still-cant-buy-masks-even-after-congress-passed-8-3-billion-in-emergency-coronavirus-funding/

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