Why weren’t federal government officials performing basic maintenance on all of those ventilators stored at the Strategic National Stockpile and what’s causing the contracting delays to get the life-saving machines into hospitals?

That’s what Colorado’s U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner wants to know and why he’s demanding an investigation by the inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Both of those issues appear to be contributing to the low supply of operational ventilators at the very time our country desperately needs them and for the precise reason they were stockpiled. 

“These reports, if true, are unacceptable and I am writing to urge the immediate investigation into the below questions, as well as any additional queries that the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) determines would reform and improve our nation’s public health preparedness,” Gardner wrote.

The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act was passed in 2006 under then-President George W. Bush to manage and provide tools for the nation’s public health response capabilities during emergencies, like a pandemic. 

Among several questions Gardner put to the inspector’s general office, what led to this lapse in maintaining the ventilators?

“The SNS is a critical resource for states facing grave public health emergencies, and we must take every step to make sure that there is a robust supply of working medical supplies and equipment on hand. I appreciate the OIG’s expedited consideration of this matter and request an update on the investigation as soon as possible,” Gardner said.

Meanwhile, John Hickenlooper’s response to the pandemic and health crisis is to play his banjo and tell stories to entertain an online audience.