Ocasio-Cortez: Need to start production of medical supplies now to prepare for 'surge'

Ocasio-Cortez: Need to start production of medical supplies now to prepare for 'surge'
© Greg Nash

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said Sunday the Trump administration needs to order the production of medical equipment needed to respond to the coronavirus outbreak now in order to prepare for a "surge" in cases that she predicted is two or three weeks away. 

The congresswoman said it is "absolutely" necessary for President TrumpDonald John TrumpMulvaney: 'We've overreacted a little bit' to coronavirus Former CBS News president: Most major cable news outlets 'unrelentingly liberal' in 'fear and loathing' of Trump An old man like me should be made more vulnerable to death by COVID-19 MORE to invoke the Defense Production Act, adding that hospitals in her district have said they are at or approaching capacity. 

“We are thankful to anyone pitching in on this effort, but we are nowhere near the beds and the capacity that we need in this country,” she said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” 

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“And we’re hearing it every step of the way from this administration. First we're hearing it’s a hoax, than we were hearing everything was fine, than we’re hearing the fundamentals of the economy was okay until the crash comes, and we cannot wait until people start really dying in large numbers to start production, especially of more complicated equipment like ventilators and hospital beds,” Ocasio-Cortez added.

“We need to start production right now to get ready for the surge that is coming in two to three weeks.” 

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administration Peter Gaynor said in an interview earlier on the show that ordering the production of medical supplies is not necessary, as companies have donated them. 

He said the president hasn’t had to use the “leverage” of ordering production, because companies have been “asking us what they can do to help.” 

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Ocasio-Cortez, however, said that the donations are not enough. 

She said several major hospitals in her district have said there are not enough face masks, gloves, ventilators and hospital beds. 

“There is kind of no real stream in sight from the federal government on where these materials are coming from,” she said. 

“The fact that the president has not really invoked the Defense Production Act for the purchase of emergency manufacture is going to cost lives,” she said.