Relief package billions can’t buy hospitals out of shortages

The billions of tax dollars headed for hospitals and states as part of the $2.2 trillion coronavirus response bill won’t solve the critical shortage of protective gowns, gloves and masks. That’s what a close look by The Associated Press has found. Experts say the problem isn’t a lack of money. It’s that there aren’t enough supplies to buy. What’s more, the crisis has exposed a fragmented procurement system that’s descending into chaos just as demand soars. Hospitals, state governments and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are left bidding against each other and driving up prices.