Trump urges states to secure their own medical supplies for coronavirus

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President Trump on Monday urged governors to secure their own medical supplies to fight the coronavirus, saying it would be faster that way.

State officials facing a shortage of masks and ventilators have asked Washington for help getting the supplies to protect health care workers and treat patients with the deadly coronavirus.
“They can get them faster by getting them on their own,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “In other words, go through a supply chain that they may have because the governors, during normal times, the governors buy a lot of things, not necessarily through the federal government.”
Trump made similar comments to governors during a conference call Monday, according to The New York Times.
“We will be backing you, but try getting it yourselves. Point of sales, much better, much more direct if you can get it yourself,” he reportedly said.
States are increasingly asking the federal government for masks for health workers — called N95 respirators — as hospitals quickly use up their stockpiles. Hospitals are also worried they won’t have enough ventilators for the expected surge of patients in the coming weeks and months as the coronavirus worsens.
Trump told reporters Monday the federal government has ordered “tremendous numbers” of ventilators and respirator masks, but, he added, it is “always going to be faster” if states get them directly from suppliers.
It’s not clear how many masks or ventilators the federal government has ordered. The Hill has reached out to the the Department of Health and Human Services for comment.
The federal government keeps a stockpile of medical supplies in case of emergencies that states can tap into, including 10.5 million respirator masks and 12,700 ventilators.
Washington state is among those that have already had to dip into the stockpile as hospitals run out of supplies. The state is facing one of the biggest coronavirus outbreaks in the country.
Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 Donald Trump hospitals medical supplies respirators ventilators
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