Mayor de Blasio announced Wednesday that the city has amassed over 150 million pieces of protective gear to fight a second COVID wave – but failed to mention that it fell short of its goal of gathering a 90-day supply of N95 masks, according to a New York City Councilman.
In a press release sent on Wednesday afternoon, Team de Blasio touts the seemingly impressive totals of all the personal protective gear, or PPE, it now has stockpiled -- 30,413,300 nitrate gloves, 58,058,000 surgical masks, 45,729,651 isolation gowns and 9,356,480 N95 masks.
Those numbers are all certainly large, but according to Councilman Ben Kallos, three of them fall short of the city’s stated goals.
An internal de Blasio administration document obtained by Kallos and shared with the Daily News reveals that the city goal is to have a 90-day supply of each item. As of Tuesday, it only has a 15-day supply of gloves, a 62-day supply of N95 masks and an 87-day supply of face shields.
“We are 30 days short of the supply we need,” Kallos said of the masks. “It’s dishonest for the mayor to put out the numbers claiming victory when people need to know we don’t have enough N95 masks.”
Shortages of those masks during the height of the pandemic in March and April quickly became a lightning rod as hospital staffers were forced to recycle them for days past their shelf life.
But de Blasio spokeswoman Avery Cohen pushed back on Kallos’ claims, saying the city’s goal is for the end of the year.
“It’s late November,” she said. “We’ll have the masks and face shields by the end of the year, which is appropriate given the supply chain. Gloves will be fulfilled by the end of January.”
Cohen pointed out that while the state requires hospitals to have a 90-day stockpile of PPE, the city’s supply is self-imposed and intended as a backstop for hospitals.
“We’re confident that we’ll be able to supplement their existing supply as needed,” she said.