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Medical workers wear masks as they walk back to GW hospital in D.C. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. government's great coronavirus airlift came not a minute too soon.

What they're saying: Trump administration officials are anonymously sounding the alarm that America's emergency stockpile of personal protective equipment is running dangerously low, the WashPost reports this afternoon

Why it matters: Masks, ventilators, face shields and gloves are the only things keeping health care workers healthy right now.

  • If they fall sick, that further reduces our health care system's capacity just when demand is surging well beyond what it can handle in the best-case scenario, Axios' Caitlin Owens says.
  • "The stockpile was ... never built or designed to fight a 50-state pandemic," a Homeland Security official told the WashPost.
  • "This is not only a U.S. government problem. The supply chain for PPE worldwide has broken down, and there is a lot of price-gouging happening."

The big picture: The World Health Organization warned about low stockpiles in early February.

  • Now the U.S. faces a monster outbreak in New York at the same time as other state outbreaks are beginning to surge.
  • This is also why states that aren't hurting yet need to pause elective medical procedures in order to preserve PPE. It's not clear the federal government will be able to help those whose surges come later.

Between the lines: U.S. medical personnel are being silenced for speaking out, Bloomberg reports.

  • Washington State: Ming Lin, an emergency room physician, "said he was told Friday he was out of a job because he’d given an interview ... detailing what he believed to be inadequate protective equipment and testing."
  • "In Chicago, a nurse was fired after emailing colleagues that she wanted to wear a more protective mask while on duty."
  • "In New York, the NYU Langone Health system has warned employees they could be terminated if they talk to the media without authorization."

The bottom line: The N.Y. Times reports the CDC is considering advising everyone to wear a non-medical mask.

  • Current CDC guidelines say: "You may need to improvise a face mask using a scarf or bandana.”

Go deeper

11 mins ago - Politics & Policy

McConnell drops filibuster demand, paving way for power-sharing deal

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (R) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell attend a joint session of Congress. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has abandoned his demand that Democrats state, in writing, that they would not abandon the legislative filibuster.

Between the lines: McConnell was never going to agree to a 50-50 power sharing deal without putting up a fight over keeping the 60-vote threshold. But the minority leader ultimately caved after it became clear that delaying the organizing resolution was no longer feasible.

Scoop: Google won't donate to members of Congress who voted against election results

Sen. Ted Cruz led the group of Republicans who opposed certifying the results. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Google will not make contributions from its political action committee this cycle to any member of Congress who voted against certifying the results of the presidential election, following the deadly Capitol riot.

Why it matters: Several major businesses paused or pulled political donations following the events of Jan. 6, when pro-Trump rioters, riled up by former President Trump, stormed the Capitol on the day it was to certify the election results.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Minority Mitch still setting Senate agenda

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Chuck Schumer may be majority leader, yet in many ways, Mitch McConnell is still running the Senate show — and his counterpart is about done with it.

Why it matters: McConnell rolled over Democrats unapologetically, and kept tight control over his fellow Republicans, while in the majority. But he's showing equal skill as minority leader, using political jiujitsu to convert a perceived weakness into strength.