President Trump announced Sunday that the federal government is sending several hundred additional ventilators to states hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak.
Trump during a White House briefing said that over the last 24 hours, the federal government has delivered an additional 500 ventilators to New Jersey, which is among the hardest-hit states. He said it also has sent 200 ventilators to Louisiana and 300 to Michigan. Another 600 have gone to Illinois, he said, while Massachusetts will be getting 100.
The ventilator disbursements come as governors have clamored for weeks for the Trump administration to do more to confront the shortage of the crucially needed machines, which allow seriously ill coronavirus patients to breathe.
New York and Louisiana have both warned in particular that they do not have enough ventilators for the coming onslaught.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said earlier Sunday on CNN that his state had received 200 ventilators from the federal government but still expected to run out on April 9.
The ventilator announcement comes as federal officials are warning that the coming week will be particularly bad as the peak of cases nears, especially in hot spots such as New York.
“This is going to be the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans’ lives,” Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Trump, who has bashed several governors repeatedly, instead offered some positive words Sunday.
He praised Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), whom he previously called a “snake,” for sending 400 ventilators back to the federal government to give to other states that need them more.
“We appreciate that he’s able to give them back,” Trump said of Inslee.
Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) Robert Wilkie said VA hospitals are starting to make beds available to increase the capacity for coronavirus patients, including 100 beds in New York.
Still, when mentioning the ventilators going to Illinois, Trump noted, “There’s a governor — I hear him complaining all the time — Pritzker.”
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) kept up his criticism of the Trump administration earlier Sunday for not fully using the Defense Production Act to direct businesses to ramp up production of needed supplies and coordinate where they will go. States have said they are now in a bidding war with one another because of a lack of federal leadership.
“The president does not understand the word federal,” Pritzker said on CNN on Sunday, adding, “individual states can’t possibly do what the federal government can do.”