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GAO: Trump administration spent $200M to send foreign nations 8,700 ventilators

GAO: Trump administration spent $200M to send foreign nations 8,700 ventilators
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A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) shows that the Trump administration spent $200 million to send 8,722 ventilators to other countries during the coronavirus pandemic last year. 

The watchdog found that the initiative was not based on guidance from U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The GAO is not sure what guidelines Trump was using for the distributions of ventilators.  

El Salvador received 600 ventilators when it had 74 new cases a day of COVID-19, while Honduras, which had 161 cases a day or more than twice as much as El Salvador, received 210 ventilators.

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The ventilators were sent to 43 countries. The GAO report said USAID is not aware of where some of the ventilators are. While it says it knows how many ventilators are in each country, it does not know where the ventilators were sent within each country. 

USAID is now looking for the ventilators and working with manufacturers and others to gather information in order to track them all down. 

Sending the ventilators to other countries was costly, at least in terms of what USAID was providing in total coronavirus relief. 

The report found that in almost half of the countries that received ventilators, the cost of donating them took up more than half of coronavirus funding USAID provided to the countries. 

Ventilators are used to help patients breath. They have been critical in many cases for keeping people with COVID-19 alive.