Maine and 37 other states got zero ventilators from the federal stockpile. Why?

In yesterday’s Portland Press Herald I tried to answer the question: “Why did Maine — and 37 other states — get zero ventilators from the Strategic National Stockpile?”

The answer isn’t entirely clear, beyond the fact that the federal stockpile was woefully understocked for a crisis of this magnitude. Many — but not all — of the states that did receive  some of the circa 9000 on hand are hot spots. Other places that appear vulnerable got none. Colorado aside, there’s not a clear political pattern in ventilator allocation (though that may not be the case for personal protection equipment, a separate issue.)

As you’ll read in the story, even when adding in “alternative ventilators” like CPAP machines, converted anesthesia devices and the like, it leaves Maine short if things reach the more dire planning scenarios the Maine CDC has been working with. It all may depend on whether Mainers can slow the spread enough in the coming weeks to prevent a spike in the state’s ICUs.

One other Maine coronavirus update from me in today’s Press Herald: the Chebeague Island ferry will now transport emergency COVID-19 patients after all.