FEMA head 'not sure' we'll ever have enough masks, ventilators to fight coronavirus

'Will we ever have enough? I'm not sure,' FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor says

FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor was unable to give an exact number of the masks his agency is distributing or how much demand there is for masks and other personal protective equipment amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"It is a dynamic and fluid operation. ... Since I've been here, we've been shipping continuously," Gaynor said on CNN's "State of the Union." "I can't give you a rough number. I can tell you it's happening every day."

"These are finite, limited resources," he said of N-95 masks and ventilators on "Meet the Press." "Will we ever have enough? I'm not sure."

Gaynor speaks as President Trump and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson listen during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, Saturday. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Vice President Mike Pence, leader of the White House coronavirus task force, said on Saturday that Health and Human Services had ordered "hundreds of millions of N-95 masks that will be made available to health care providers across the country."

The masks will be allocated through FEMA.

"Just listened to Peter Gaynor, FEMA administrator, on Meet the Press. Are you feeling better? I am not," political scientist Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute wrote on Twitter.

"We'd be better off with Gloria Gaynor running FEMA. At least she would honestly outline our chances of survival," filmmaker Jeremy Newberger wrote.

Trump invoked the Defense Production Act last week, but Gaynor told "Meet the Press" they have not had to use it and companies have volunteered.

"Will we have to use it? Maybe," Gaynor said. "We are working to source from all different kinds of manufacturing."


The coronavirus pandemic has advanced Sunday after the U.S. and Europe are reporting soaring new cases, prompting a scramble in some regions to set up additional hospital beds and replenish much-needed medical supplies.

In the U.S., where multiple states have ordered residents to stay indoors, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the government is "literally scouring the globe looking for medical supplies." Health care workers from Oklahoma City to Minneapolis sought donations of protective equipment. Staff at a Detroit hospital began creating homemade face masks for workers. Even rural hospitals were strained as people increasingly felt the pandemic closing in.


President Trump declared a national emergency under the Stafford Act in response to the growing coronavirus pandemic earlier in March, allowing the White House to mobilize FEMA and direct federal aid to states hit by disasters and health crises.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.