RELEASE: Pennsylvania Health Care Worker Says Trump Administration’s Ventilator Program Misses Peak Need: ‘They Need Ventilators Today’
Washington, D.C. — In the past week, coronavirus testing dropped by more than 30 percent, despite the United States being the global epicenter of the crisis with more than 670,000 people infected and more than 33,000 people dead. The sharp increase in confirmed cases across the country comes as experts suggest that the crisis will not end without mass testing. President Donald Trump, who once promised that “anyone who wants a test can get a test,” has been unclear about whether or not his administration plans on ramping up mass testing or even how many tests are needed across the country. The administration’s insufficient testing comes as a new Pew Research Center poll finds that 66 percent of Americans have concerns about social distancing guidelines being lifted “too quickly” and that 73 percent of Americans believe the worst of the outbreak is yet to come.
This is a repeat of President Trump’s previous mistakes. Now, the Center for American Progress Action Fund is releasing a new video to highlight the stories of health care workers such as Dr. Kai Xu, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital, who treats COVID-19 patients. Dr. Xu says that the lack of a coordinated response from the Trump administration has undercut states’ abilities to adequately provide testing and equipment to hospitals, even as health care workers are being forced to make the life-or-death decision as to which patient facing respiratory distress gets the hospital’s last ventilator. After facing weeks of pressure to act on the ventilator shortage, President Trump announced this week that private industry partners would produce approximately 32,000 ventilators by the end of May and 150,000 by the end of the year. As Xu says in the video, the Trump administration’s plan is welcomed, but unfortunately it is too little, too late, as it misses the peak supply need.
“There is no coordinated response. Individual hospitals, individual cities, states are on their own. You cannot make ventilators over the course of several days. They need ventilators today. They need ventilators by the end of this week,” Xu says. “We need to think about the supplies that we have and redeploy them in such a way that is coordinated. That’s what we need to see on a national level”
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