Jared Kushner was pilloried Thursday after telling reporters at the daily coronavirus briefing that the “federal” Strategic National Stockpile is “our stockpile,” and that, therefore, states shouldn’t rely on it for live-saving materials in the event of an emergency.
It’s a flawed statement at face value, one directly contradicted by language on the Strategic National Stockpile’s website at the time.
“The Strategic National Stockpile is the nation’s largest supply of life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for use in a public health emergency severe enough to cause local supplies to run out,” the website read.
“When state, local, tribal, and territorial responders request federal assistance to support their response efforts,” it continued, “the stockpile ensures that the right medicines and supplies get to those who need them most during an emergency. Organized for scalable response to a variety of public health threats, this repository contains enough supplies to respond to multiple large-scale emergencies simultaneously.”
Caught in a lie, the Trump administration didn’t correct itself; instead, it changed the website.
New language published on the Strategic National Stockpile website Friday reframes the strategic stockpile as only “supplementary” in nature, and shifts blame for any shortfall to the states.
Here’s the new description, in full:
The Strategic National Stockpile’s role is to supplement state and local supplies during public health emergencies. Many states have products stockpiled, as well. The supplies, medicines, and devices for life-saving care contained in the stockpile can be used as a short-term stopgap buffer when the immediate supply of adequate amounts of these materials may not be immediately available.
In a statement Friday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services claimed the updated language was in the works before Kushner’s briefing.
For the record, Kushner’s original claim is below. Also for the record: No, Kushner doesn’t have any experience in medicine or epidemiology.
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