Washington, D.C. — As President Donald Trump signals that the White House’s coronavirus task force will functionally disband in the coming weeks and as governors around the country begin to reopen their states during the height of the coronavirus crisis, new infection projections are beginning to predict an imminent rise in the COVID-19 death toll. Now, the Center for American Progress Action Fund is releasing a new video as part of a social media campaign to highlight President Trump’s monthslong failure to use the levers of the federal government to provide medical workers with lifesaving personal protective equipment (PPE)—such as masks, gloves, and gowns—during a time of unprecedented risk to their well-being.
The new video highlights the experiences of Jenny Bloodworth from Plano, Texas, whose mother has worked in the intensive care unit (ICU) for more than 30 years. Knowing that the hospital couldn’t provide adequate PPE for its medical staff, Bloodworth began to create homemade masks and gowns for her mother to wear during her long shifts in the ICU.
“Any given day, she could have used half a dozen masks,” says Bloodworth. “They weren’t even allowed to wear masks, and they then instituted the one mask per day. A lot of nurses felt like this wasn’t even close to being enough, so they started bringing masks from home. It’s just really sad that the solution that we have to do is to take it into our own hands.”
Over the past several months, President Trump has played politics with the PPE shortage, calling it “fake news” while lambasting governors’ and hospitals’ pleas for additional protective resources. Trump has even attempted to silence members of his own administration who have raised the issue. Last week, he moved to replace the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services inspector general, whose office sounded alarms about the nationwide PPE shortage. On Twitter, President Trump called the inspector general’s report “another fake dossier.” As Bloodworth says in the video, the PPE shortage and President Trump’s inaction have left her with no choice but to do what she can to keep her mother safe.
“There could be a lot more that the president could be doing with this situation,” she says. “I started making a lot of them for her to bring every day. A lot of other families that have frontline health care workers, they might not be able to have the time or the resources to be able to make this PPE for their family members. If the nurses aren’t safe and the doctors aren’t safe, the patients aren’t safe. It’s as simple as that.”
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