After pleas from health workers across the country as critically needed medical equipment diminishes, Donald Trump says that states and hospitals have “insatiable appetites” and are “never satisfied” with the federal government response, which began sending some relief to hard-hit areas during the coronavirus pandemic.
He said on Twitter: “Massive amounts of medical supplies, even hospitals and medical centres, are being delivered directly to states and hospitals by the Federal Government. Some have insatiable appetites & are never satisfied (politics?). Remember, we are a backup for them.”
The president said that the “complainers” should have been “stocked up and ready long before this crisis hit” despite his assurance to Americans for weeks that the federal government was acting to combat the outbreak.
Under pressure for the delayed response and the limited supplies facing health systems across the US, the president has claimed that supplies are going “missing” and “out the back door” instead.
There is no evidence that supports his claims.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose state received a US naval ship with medical supplies and overflow beds for Covid-19 patients, slammed the president for his claims, underlining the threats to hospitals that have yet to reach a peak ahead of the “curve” with an influx of sick patients.
The state has become a viral epicentre in the US, with at least 2,373 deaths in the state as of 2 April, up from 1,941 the previous day.
He said: “If you are not preparing for the apex and for the high point, you are missing the entire point of the operation … It is a fundamental blunder to only prepare for today, that’s why in some ways we are where we are. We’ve been behind this virus from Day One.”
The president claimed that “other states are thrilled with the job we have done. Sending many Ventilators today, with thousands being built. 51 large cargo planes coming in with medical supplies. Prefer sending directly to hospitals.”
He was roundly criticised for his latest claims.
Doctors and nurses have reported across the US are reusing masks and other personal protective equipment while facing limited supplies, including potentially life-saving ventilators that coronavirus patients have increasingly needed to assist their breathing.
Their colleagues across the US have also become ill, and already over-stretched public health systems relying on a shortage of those supplies now have been forced to compete with other systems for expensive equipment.