“When state, local, tribal and territorial responders request federal assistance to support their response efforts,” it continued, “the stockpile ensures that the right medicines and supplies get to those who need the most during an emergency.” It went on to say the stockpile “contains enough supplies to respond to multiple large-scale emergencies simultaneously.”
But after the revisions, first noticed by the journalist Laura Bassett, the website on Friday said that the role of the stockpile was to “supplement state and local supplies during public health emergencies.”
“Many states have products stockpiled as well,” it said.
“The supplies, medicines and devices for lifesaving care contained in the stockpile,” the site added, “can be used as a short-term stopgap buffer when the immediate supply of adequate amounts of these materials may not be immediately available.”
The explosive growth of the virus in many cities over the past two weeks has made clear that the United States has not been following the trajectory of places like Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong that have kept outbreaks relatively contained so far. And the country has not begun to see the number of new cases level off yet, as Italy has.
Several scientists said it was too early to make ironclad statements about whether social distancing was having a powerful effect. In a few cities that acted early, including New York, San Francisco and Seattle, new reported cases have begun to slow, providing some optimism that control measures work.
“The growth rate in New York City is slowing. We do have evidence that measures we put in place two or three weeks ago may be having an effect,” said Jeffrey Shaman, a professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia University. Data from Seattle and San Francisco, he said, shows “they’ve slowed it in spots.”