WASHINGTON (AP) — The Veterans Affairs Department is defending itself against criticism of past shortages of masks and other medical gear to protect employees from the coronavirus.

But it also acknowledges its current supplies may not be enough to handle a second wave. Dr. Richard Stone, VA's top health official, says at the height of the pandemic the department's 170 medical centers used 250,000 N95 masks per day — which he called a “daunting amount.”

The VA now has about a 30-day supply of gear including masks and gowns.

Stone told a Senate committee on Tuesday it would need a six-month supply for a possible resurgence this fall.

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