President Donald Trump on Sunday accused hospitals of hoarding ventilators that are in short supply in the United States due to the spread of the corona virus, and added that hospitals that do not use the devices must release them. Trump, whose critics have accused him of trying to blame him for handling the crisis, cited no evidence to support his allegation that hospitals were hoarding the equipment
It was also unclear what medical facilities he was referring to. "We have some healthcare workers, some hospitals … hoarding devices including ventilators," Trump said at the White House after meeting with company executives, including the US Medical Group.
"We have to approve these ventilators – especially hospitals that will never use them."
His comments came just two days after Trump filed emergency orders to force General Motors Co to build much-needed ventilators for coronavirus patients after accusing the largest US automaker of "wasting time" during the negotiations.
Trump was more optimistic about GM on Sunday, saying the auto giant is working "very hard."
The Trump administration has been pressured to boost the production of ventilators that are essential to saving the lives of patients who develop complications with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview with CNN on Sunday that the pandemic could cause between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths in the United States.
Dr. Deborah Corx, a member of Trump's coronavirus task force, said the NBC's "Meet the Press" program earlier Sunday that the government has asked US governors and mayors to know "where your anesthesia ventilators are." On March 25, Trump enacted an executive order to prevent hoarding of essential medical devices to fight the coronavirus pandemic, including respirators and masks.
The executive ordinance empowered the U.S. government to act directly against hamsters who can be prosecuted. With the rate of infection rising rapidly, Reuters has documented the lack of vital protective equipment in hospitals in hard-hit New York City, where healthcare workers hide supplies such as face masks from colleagues in other departments.
If supply chains fail or delay the delivery of vital equipment, nurses say they lock or hide N95 respirators, surgical masks, and other consumables that easily disappear when left unattended.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)