New York City Spent $200 Million on COVID Supplies That Are Now Mostly Worthless

New York City stands to lose hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on unused COVID supplies.

That's according to a report from The City, which discovered the unimaginable amount of wasted money.

The unused supplies were purchased by former Mayor Bill de Blasio, who unsurprisingly also rewarded donors with high value contracts to produce the supplies.

One of the most prominent examples of staggering governmental incompetence was the creation of "bridge vents."

These were backups to ventilators, which were initially supposed to be in short supply. However, as with most COVID-related expectations, hospitalization numbers were nowhere near as catastrophic as "experts" and modelers claimed.

de Blasio ordered the creation of thousands of these "bridge vents," proudly explaining how the city mobilized to build the devices.

“This is a story about doing the impossible,” de Blasio said. “We’d never made a ventilator before — and so we made thousands. We learned it would take a year — and so we did it in a month. Our City is taking our future into our own hands. That’s how we’ll beat this crisis and prepare for the next.”

These supposed COVID necessities cost taxpayers $12 million. Except, naturally, they were never actually used.

After years of collecting dust they were put up for auction as “non-functioning medical equipment sold as scrap metal," according to the report.

Those $12 million worth of devices? Sold for $24,600.

One of the worst returns on investment you'll ever see.

Remarkable COVID Waste

de Blasio and New York City did achieve the impossible; ensuring one of the worst returns on investment in government history.

That's just one of many examples of remarkable spending on now-worthless products.

The City's report uncovered that 9.5 million items have been auctioned off. With staggeringly poor results.

"About 9.5 million items purchased by the city government from $224 million in COVID-related contracts at the pandemic’s 2020 peak have been auctioned so far, garnering about $500,000."

$224 million in contracts, now worth $500,000. Just a cool 99.7% loss, for equipment that no one used.

At least the city also reportedly sent private information on unvaccinated teachers to the FBI.


de Blasio also used COVID as an excuse to reward donors with over market contracts. One example was an electronics firm run by a major donor, which created pointless N95 masks that were not FDA-certified.

For their poor quality work, the firm was paid $4 per mask, well above the $3.10 market price.

New York also overpaid for face shields, spending $335,000 on supplies that should have cost $183,500.

Again, de Blasio certainly wasn't lying about achieving the impossible. Only New York could be so incompetently run.

Many of the city's auctions receive zero bids, sometimes multiple times. Nearly 98,000 disposable gowns were put up with a starting price of $35,226.

Unsurprisingly, no one bid. They then went back up for auction for $280.

226,000 aprons were put up for a $500 opening bid. Millions of masks received no bids.

Quite simply, it's a masterpiece of incompetence on a scale that only New York could accomplish.

Now that it's abundantly clear that the risks of COVID were absurdly overstated, the city's desperately trying to unload its unnecessary equipment. But in perhaps the least surprising turn of events, New York can't even do that successfully.

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Ian Miller is a former award watching high school actor, author, and long suffering Dodgers fan. He spends most of his time golfing, traveling, reading about World War I history, and trying to get the remote back from his dog. Follow him on Twitter @ianmSC