Trump claims there were no personal protective equipment shortages in the US
President Donald Trump disagreed with a nurse he was honoring, standing his ground that there were no personal protective equipment shortages in the US despite her account that availability could be “sporadic.”
A reporter asked the nurses attending the National Nurse Day event if their PPE supplies were what they needed it to be amid the coronavirus pandemic, and many of them nodded in agreement or answered affirmatively.
“I think it’s sporadic,” answered Sophia L. Thomas, president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. “I mean, I talk to my colleagues around the country. Certainly there are pockets around the country where PPE is not ideal, but this is an unprecedented time.”
Sophia said she works at a community health center in New Orleans, and that her youngest Covid-19 patient was 4 days old.
“The infection control measures that we learned back when we went to school, one gown and one mask for one patient per day — this is a different time,” she said, adding that she has been reusing a single N95 mask for “a few weeks now. PPE has been sporadic, but it’s been manageable. And we do what we have to do,” Thomas said. “We are nurses and we learn to adapt and do whatever we can do for our patients to get the job done and the care provided, and that’s what we will continue to do as Covid-19 continues.”
Showing disregard of her firsthand experience, President Trump disputed Thomas’ account. He said “sporadic for you but not sporadic for a lot of other people. Because I’ve heard the opposite, I have heard that they are loaded up with gowns now. We had empty shelves and empty nothing because it wasn’t put there by the last administration.”
Front-line health workers have reported shortages of PPE as the virus continues to sweep through the country, and the White House has worked to enhance ramped-up production of masks and gowns since the pandemic started.
President Donald Trump also announced that his coronavirus task force would continue “indefinitely” a day after he and Vice President Mike Pence said they were phasing out the health-focused panel in favor of a group focused on reopening the economy.
Trump, who said the panel would take up a new focus on vaccines, is also considering naming an administration point person on treatment and vaccine efforts, according to people familiar with the matter.
Jared Kushner, the President’s senior adviser, continues to play a central role in the White House’s response effort, including on vaccines, despite questions about the efficacy of his attempts to source badly needed supplies
A few hours before he was supposed to meet the task force, Trump explained his retreat on phasing out the panel.
“I thought we could wind it down sooner. But I had no idea how popular the task force is until, actually, yesterday when I started talking about winding it down,” Trump said in the Oval Office, where he was meeting with nurses. “I get calls from very respected people saying, ‘I think it would be better to keep it going, it’s done such a good job.’ “