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.
....he will be successful, especially as the weather starts to warm & the virus hopefully becomes weaker, and then gone. Great discipline is taking place in China, as President Xi strongly leads what will be a very successful operation. We are working closely with China to help!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 7, 2020
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.”
We have coordinated with U.S. organizations to transport more humanitarian relief to people in Wuhan. Personal protective equipment and other medical supplies donated by these organizations can help save lives in #China and help protect people from the #coronavirus. pic.twitter.com/57SN2TXfLP— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) February 7, 2020
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.”
Just left the Administration briefing on Coronavirus. Bottom line: they aren't taking this seriously enough.— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) February 5, 2020
Notably, no request for ANY emergency funding, which is a big mistake. Local health systems need supplies, training, screening staff etc. And they need it now.
Sending medical supplies to China early on was act of compassion. I’m not going to criticize him for being altruistic. The problem is what he did afterwards just downplaying the coronavirus and not replenishing our stockpile for Americans. That is incompetent and irresponsible.— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) March 29, 2020
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?
Trump, you incompetent idiot! You sent 18 tons of PPE to China early but ignored warnings & called COVID19 concerns a hoax. You've endangered doctors, nurses, aids, orderlies, & janitors - all risking their lives to save ours. Pray 4 forgiveness for the harm that you're causing!— Maxine Waters (@RepMaxineWaters) March 30, 2020