States give few details on billions spent on virus supplies

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FILE – In this April 10, 2020, file photo, wearing protective masks ground crew at the Los Angeles International airport unload supplies of medical personal protective equipment, PPE, from a China Southern Cargo plane upon it’s arrival. States are spending billions of dollars stocking up on medical supplies like masks and breathing machines during the coronavirus pandemic. An Associated Press survey of all 50 states found a hodgepodge of public information about the purchase of masks, gloves, gowns and other hard-to-get equipment for medical and emergency workers. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – U.S. states are spending billions of dollars buying protective medical supplies amid the coronavirus crisis, but many aren’t sharing details.

Two months into a buying binge, it’s unclear how much many states are paying, which businesses they’re using and what they’re getting in return.

The Associated Press asked all 50 states for the total amount they spent on protective equipment and ventilators. A few provided vendor-specific details. Some even have posted that online. But many provided only pieces of the puzzle.

Those details are important because many states set aside purchasing safeguards amid competition for supplies, quickly closing emergency deals.

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