Hospitals, doctors, nurses call on Trump to ‘immediately’ ramp up production of medical supplies
Associations representing physicians, hospitals and nurses are calling on President Trump to immediately use the Defense Production Act to intensify domestic production of medical supplies amid the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
“As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the country, these supplies are urgently needed to care for our patients and communities,” the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association and the American Nurses Association wrote in a letter to Trump on Saturday.
The groups voiced concerns over diminishing supplies in areas hardest hit by the virus’s spread, noting that certain health systems are experiencing a shortage of ventilators, N95 respirators, isolation masks and beds in intensive care units.
“Even with an infusion of supplies from the strategic stockpile and other federal resources, there will not be enough medical supplies, including ventilators, to respond to the projected COVID-19 outbreak,” the groups wrote.
The novel coronavirus, which originated in China in December, has infected more than 300,000 people worldwide, including roughly 26,700 people in the United States, according to a Johns Hopkins University database.
Trump last week signed an executive order invoking the Defense Production Act, which gives him the authority to order American companies to manufacture medical supplies in short supply and sell them to the federal government. He said Friday that he put the law “into gear,” though it remains unclear how the White House is using it to produce more supplies.
Trump previously said he would only invoke the law in a “worst-case scenario” and that states were in a better position to manage supply shortages.
The Trump administration has faced continued scrutiny over its response to the COVID-19 outbreak, as fears grow that a surge in infections could cause for the U.S. health system.
Hospitals, health workers and state and local officials have said that they are quickly running out of necessary equipment needed to help assist patients contracting the virus. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has warned that those problems could only worsen if Trump doesn’t use his emergency powers to ramp up production of supplies.
“We must put more testing, more protective equipment and more ventilators into the hands of our front-line workers immediately,” she said in a statement last Thursday.