As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States increases at an alarming rate, the country finds itself perilously short on supplies that could help keep people safe. That’s probably because they’re in China.

Seven weeks ago, the U.S. State Department shipped 17.8 tons of medical supplies to China, including face masks, gowns, and respirators, the Huffington Post reports. American companies and nonprofits donated the supplies, even as health experts and lawmakers petitioned for the federal government to prepare for the spread of the virus stateside.

On Feb. 7, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced in a press release that the U.S. government “was prepared to spend up to $100 million in existing funds to assist China and other impacted countries, both directly and through multilateral organizations, to contain and combat the novel coronavirus.”

Pompeo asserted that the action “demonstrates strong U.S. leadership in response to the outbreak”—even as Trump, Pompeo, and other White House staff repeatedly dismissed the coronavirus as a hoax and downplayed the gravity of the global pandemic.

The United States now leads the world in confirmed coronavirus cases, as hospitals overflow with sick patients and those who are infected struggle to obtain adequate care. When governors pleaded for supplies last week, the president responded in character by throwing a tantrum and saying the federal government is “not a shipping clerk.”

The U.S. government has since begun pleading with European governments to donate medical supplies to make up for its staggering shortcomings. Because hey, it’s not like anybody warned the Trump administration about this, right?

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*First Published: March 31, 2020, 6:14 am