“Early on, we wanted to understand what usage was, what pre-COVID numbers looked like. Now that we’re going into opening government, what do those numbers look like? Elective surgeries, dentists, all these things are new and additive to the problem,” Gaynor said. “So as we learn more, we’ll update those slides.”
Rear Admiral John Polowczyk, the Joint Chiefs of Staff vice director of logistics, and Brett Giroir, Department of Health and Human Services assistant secretary for health and the administration’s “testing czar,” also testified.
Even as FEMA has mobilized to increase PPE supplies, it’s been dogged by criticism, especially for raiding and redirecting state-purchased supplies and for not providing details about how it determines which hospitals and nursing homes get priority. For weeks into the pandemic, FEMA distributed stockpile equipment to states and cities based in part on per capita population rather than the severity of the disease’s spread.
Republicans were more eager than Democrats to praise the federal response to the supply crisis, but the criticism was bipartisan.
“Let’s face it, we weren’t ready,” said Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis.