Donald Trump has suggested hospital workers in New York of stealing and possibly selling face masks “out the back door” during an astounding press conference on Sunday evening.
Standing in the White House’s Rose Garden the president asked reporters to look into the supposed illegal activity but provided no evidence to back up his claims aside from increased demand for supplies from hospitals swamped by the coronavirus pandemic.
“For years [suppliers] have been delivering ten to twenty thousand masks. OK, it’s a New York hospital and it’s packed all the time but how do you go from ten to twenty thousand to 300,000?”
“Something’s going on and you ought to look into it as reporters.
“Where are the masks going? Are they going out the back door? And we have that in a lot of different places so somebody should probably look into that because I just don’t see from a practical standpoint how that’s possible.”
"How do you go from 10 to 20 to 30,000, to 300,000 [masks]...? Something is going on. And you ought to look into it as reporters. Where are the masks going?" Trump asks, suggesting that hospital workers are stealing masks. pic.twitter.com/oDWIAOUfFx— Caroline Orr (@RVAwonk) March 29, 2020
New York state is rapidly becoming the new global epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak. There are currently 8,500 people hospitalised in the state including 2,000 in intensive care.
Deaths in New York state increased by 237 in the past day alone, reaching a total of 965.
As for masks, they are single use and New York-Presbyterian Hospital for instance employs 20,000 people.
Just seconds before Trump’s comments, a businessman involved in the production of face masks explained he was trying to produce “forty to fifty million” extra face masks to deal with the crisis in the US.
He added: “Even with a significant ramp up in supply, there is still that demand that is much greater than that supply.”
He made no mention of hoarding, stealing or selling of...