The shortage of supplies to protect health and safety personnel from COVID-19 has reached "crisis proportions in cities across the country," according to the results of a recent U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) survey.
The survey, which polled 213 cities across 41 states and Puerto Rico, found 92% of cities don't have enough face mask supplies for first responders or an adequate supply of test kits. Meanwhile, 85% do not have enough ventilators for health facilities, and 62% have not received emergency equipment or supplies from their respective state.
USCM said the shortage of these supplies have compromised the safety of residents, healthcare workers, first responders and city workers. It called on the federal government to step in and help out with resources and equipment.
The cities surveyed are home to 42 million people total, with populations ranging from under 2,000 to 3.8 million. Six of the surveyed cities have populations over one million, and 45 cities have populations under 50,000 people.
"This survey shows that despite their best efforts, cities do not have and cannot obtain the equipment and supplies essential to protect first responders, health care workers and residents from COVID-19," USCM CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran said in a statement. "Cities need much greater support if we are to overcome this pandemic and restore our communities."
The group went on to send a letter to President Trump, sharing the results of the survey. "We are sending our survey report to you because it demonstrates that, unless the federal government does everything in its power to help us safeguard our first responders and health care workers — our first line of defense — and the millions of other public servants in our cities whose work today puts them at risk, this life threatening crisis will continue," the letter reads.
A recent ABI Research report echoed that sentiment, claiming that cities are "woefully unprepared" for the pandemic. Greater investments in urban resilience and new technologies will be key for cities to recover, the report said.
To help cities get on track with their response to the pandemic, the National League of Cities ramped up its available data for U.S. leaders with the "COVID-19: Local Action Tracker," a searchable spreadsheet of policy actions across the country. The Smart Cities Council also released a new platform, "Activator - COVID-19 Mitigation Roadmap," to help city leaders visualize and collaborate on their response plans remotely.
To keep up with all of our coverage on how the new coronavirus is impacting U.S. cities, visit our daily tracker.