Report: Obama Admin Depleted Stockpile of N95 Masks, Never Restored

N95 masks (Samuel Corum / Getty)
Samuel Corum / Getty

President Donald Trump may be right to claim that he “inherited” a system that was not ready to fight a pandemic, according to a report that the Obama administration depleted the nation’s stock of N95 masks and never restored it.

The Washington Examiner, citing Bloomberg News and the Los Angeles Times, reported Monday that the Obama administration used millions of N95 masks in the fight against the H1N1 virus in 2009, but did not replace them:

The national shortage of N95 respirator masks can be traced back to 2009 after the H1N1 swine flu pandemic, when the Obama administration was advised to replenish a national stockpile but did not, according to reports from Bloomberg News and the Los Angeles Times.

A federally backed task force and a safety equipment organization both recommended to the Obama administration that the stockpile be replenished of the 100 million masks used after the H1N1 outbreak, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Charles Johnson, president of the International Safety Equipment Association, said that advice was never heeded.

Bloomberg News reported similar findings last week, noting, “after the H1N1 influenza outbreak in 2009, which triggered a nationwide shortage of masks and caused a 2- to 3-year backlog orders for the N95 variety, the stockpile distributed about three-quarters of its inventory and didn’t build back the supply.”

The Trump administration has enlisted the support of private industry to produce hundreds of millions of masks, which are primarily needed for hospitals, and health care workers on the front lines of the fight against coronavirus.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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