Coronavirus Airlift Begins


The first flight in a weekslong airlift of critical medical supplies to fight the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. landed at JFK on Sunday morning. The aircraft was chartered by the federal government and loaded with 12 million gloves, 130,000 N95 masks, 1.7 million surgical masks, 50,000 gowns, 130,000 sanitizer units and 36,000 thermometers, according to Axios. Rear Adm. John Polowczyk, who is heading up the coronavirus supply chain task force, told the news service that Sunday’s flight was a shakedown and there are at least 22 more flights, mostly from Asia, planned. “As we build muscle memory with these distributors, these numbers will grow,” he said.

The unprecedented program is geared toward ventilators and personal protection equipment that is in critically short supply across the country but particularly in New York. Axios said 60 percent of the load and all of the N95 masks were bought by the federal government and the remainder went to private sector customers. Of the federal share, New York gets about half and the remainder goes to New Jersey and Connecticut. Polowczyk said he expects the airlift to last two to three weeks and perhaps as long as a month. “I don’t know of another effort like this,” he said.

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  1. New Yorker here and I question this news. An initial search of local media (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, Wall St Journal, NY Times, et al) have not revealed this event of a large shipment of PPE for the tri-state(?) area. The tri state governors, Cuomo (NY), Murphy (NJ) and Lamont (CT) have not announced any news about this shipment. If this emergency airlift was deliberately kept below radar to prevent any form of sensationalism by these three governors, state emergency response heads, etc then perhaps this announcement was made with poor judgement. Maybe this airlift didn’t occur…….. Political upmanship would have already trotted out this announcement if this did occur but again, no local or national media announced it. This would be one feather in someone’s cap to let the public and more importantly every hospital running into severe shortages of PPE.

  2. Upon further research, I found more info (disturbing to say the least) about the very real possibility of PPE being brought over from overseas are largely made in China – from National Post in Toronto, Canada These two reports verify this airlift; and