As of this writing, 922 U.S. health care workers have died fighting COVID-19, with nearly one-third lacking adequate amounts of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the initial months of the disease’s outbreak. In those early months, global supply chain issues and the rapid depletion of Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) resources illustrated serious gaps in America’s pandemic preparedness. Today, we continue to feel the ramifications as parents, educators and students face an uncertain return to the classroom.
In the future, these shortages could be avoided through the creation of something similar to the SNS: Strategic State Stockpiles.
States need to play a larger role in pandemic preparedness to “fill the gap” if, and when, the federal government is unable to do so. They can build independent emergency medical stockpiles mirroring the SNS, but with an emphasis on low-cost, high-yield items such as PPE and portable ventilators. This would allow states to