Governors have repeatedly asked the Trump administration to provide scarce and vital medical equipment.
During his daily press briefing on the coronavirus on Wednesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was asked if he believed the Trump administration was being honest about the supply of ventilators available to the states. "I don't know," he said, "but I pray that they do because that is the only option."
From the April 1 press briefing:
ANDREW CUOMO: I don't know what they have in the stockpile. I only know what I read — and look, I was in the federal government. I don't even know, is there one stockpile, are there multiple stockpiles? I don't know.
Do I think the federal government has enough in the collective stockpiles? Enough in their possession to meet the need? I don't know, but I pray that they do because that is the only option.
I cannot buy a ventilator for a million dollars. Well, maybe for a million dollars I could buy a ventilator. But you cannot buy ventilators.
Remarkably, in a real cruel twist of fate, China is the main manufacturer for all these things. It all comes back to China. Where do we get the masks? China. Where do we get the gowns? China. Where do we get the gloves? China. Where do we get the ventilators? China.
I mean it's — I don't know how we got into this position. And then China is selling to the world, literally. So a state — and every governor will tell you this — they're trying to buy, I'm trying to buy, I'm calling everyone I know, but it all comes back to China.
And then you have the federal government that is also buying, so really, the only hope for a state, at this point, is the federal government's capacity to deliver.
The Trump administration previously authorized the shipment of medical supplies such as ventilators to foreign nations, according to a report by Politico on Tuesday, even as the United States struggled to face a growing coronavirus pandemic at home.
Despite a freeze on that foreign aid, Donald Trump this week also indicated he wanted to ship excess ventilators to European countries as U.S. manufacturers "outpace what we need."
At the same time, demand for the equipment has skyrocketed in the United States, and governors have been forced to bid against each other for supplies rather than receive resources from the federal government.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.