Coronavirus Updates

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - APRIL 02: Passenger go through TSA screening at a nearly-deserted O'Hare International Airport on April 2, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. The airport, which typically serves 8.2 million passengers a month, has closed two of its seven runways as the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly reduced air travel. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The New York Post is reporting that despite hospitals needing protective equipment and airport traffic dropping by 95 percent, The Transportation Security Administration (which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security)  has hoarded over 1.3 million N95 masks.

They explain, “TSA received more than a million old but usable N95 masks from Customs and Border Protection, which found them in an old Indiana warehouse, and also had about 116,000 masks left over from 2009’s swine flu pandemic.” They add that the agency does not currently require airport screeners to wear N95 masks, and most workers use surgical masks.

According to a review of internal records by ProPublica, two TSA officials raised concerns about TSA’s stockpile of the respirator masks back in April when personal protective equipment was in short supply. Charles Kielkopt, a TSA attorney states, “We don’t need them. People who are in an infectious environment need them. Nobody is flying. You don’t take things for yourself. It’s the wrong thing to do. ”

In the report filed, Charles Kielkopt also states that TSA “had engaged in gross mismanagement that represented a substantial and specific danger to public health.”

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