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April 30, 2020 by Robert Verchick

Did FEMA Take Your Mask?

No one really expected FEMA’s leadership of the coronavirus response to be inspiring or even, to put it bluntly, moderately competent. Still, I’ve been puzzled by several reports from state leaders and others that federal authorities have been confiscating purchased medical supplies without explanation or, at least in one case, compensation.

I don’t mean situations where a federal agency outbids someone or orders a vendor to sell to the federal government instead. That happens, too, and the practice is controversial. I’m talking about instances in which federal officials show up unannounced at a warehouse or a port and physically seize crates of medical gear that had been on their way to some needy hospital or test center that had paid or agreed to pay for them. The agent flashes a badge, the goods are trucked out, and no one knows where they go.

According to reports in the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times, this kind of thing has happened in several states, from Washington to New Jersey to Florida. One case involved a shipment of three million N95 face masks that the state of Massachusetts had ordered from BJ’s Wholesale Club …

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April 30, 2020

Did FEMA Take Your Mask?