President Donald Trump has repeatedly questioned the distribution of medical supplies around the nation in recent weeks, even suggesting without evidence that some hospitals may be misusing protective equipment and masks as cases of the coronavirus continue to surge.
“How do you go from using 10,000 to 20,000 [masks] to 300,000?” Trump asked during a press briefing in the Rose Garden on Sunday. “Even though this is different. Something’s going on. Where are the masks going, are they going out the back door?”
The comments came as more than 139,000 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus — the highest number of cases for any nation on the planet. More than 2,300 people have died, including 965 in New York, which is an epicenter of the outbreak. As the number of cases continues to rise, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said on Sunday that the city had just one week’s worth of medical supplies to care for infected residents, although he said area hospitals desperately needed more ventilators.
"How do you go from 10 to 20 to 30,000, to 300,000 -- even though this is different. Something is going on. And you ought to look into it as reporters. Where are the masks going?" -- Trump suggests that there is some sort of New York nurse conspiracy to steal masks pic.twitter.com/6vubm89vgQ— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 29, 2020
The city also reported this week that its 911 system was already overwhelmed.
“Our front line health care workers are giving their all; they’re in harm’s way. And, you know, we need to get them relief,” de Blasio said Sunday. “We need to get them support and protection, but also relief. They can’t keep up at this pace.’’
Hospitals and medical professionals have for weeks warned that stockpiles of medical supplies would not last throughout the pandemic. States have been bidding against each other to get equipment; doctors have resorted to reusing masks in some...