Trump accuses US hospitals of hoarding ventilators, Latest World News - The New Paper

Trump accuses US hospitals of hoarding ventilators

This article is more than 12 months old

US President does not cite any evidence to back his accusation that they are hoarding the devices

WASHINGTON : US President Donald Trump accused hospitals on Sunday of hoarding ventilators that are in scarce supply across the US as the coronavirus spreads, adding any hospitals not using the devices must release them.

Mr Trump, whose critics have accused him of trying to deflect blame over his handling of the crisis, did not cite any evidence to back his accusation that hospitals were hoarding the devices.

It was also unclear which medical facilities he was referring to.

"We have some healthcare workers, some hospitals... hoarding equipment including ventilators," Mr Trump said at the White House following a meeting with corporate executives.


"We have to release those ventilators - especially hospitals that are never going to use them."

His remarks came just two days after he invoked emergency powers to require General Motors Co to build much-needed ventilators for coronavirus patients after he accused the largest US automaker of "wasting time" during negotiations.

Mr Trump was more upbeat about GM on Sunday, saying the auto giant was "working very hard".

The Trump administration has been under pressure to ramp up the production of ventilators, which are essential to saving the lives of patients who develop complications with Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, estimated in an interview with CNN on Sunday that the pandemic could cause between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths in the US.

Mr Trump also bragged about the millions of people tuning in to view his daily press briefings on the coronavirus pandemic, saying on Twitter that his average ratings matched a season finale of The Bachelor reality TV show.

"Because the 'Ratings' of my News Conferences etc. are so high, 'Bachelor finale, Monday Night Football type numbers' according to the @nytimes, the Lamestream Media is going CRAZY," Mr Trump tweeted.

Mr Trump's daily coronavirus updates have attracted an average audience of 8.5 million on cable news, the New York Times reported on March 25, citing data from Nielsen.

While Mr Trump was bragging, doctors in Louisiana where the virus was spreading rapidly are having to deal with massive shortages and said they would soon be overwhelmed.


Emergency room doctor Thomas Krajewski stopped at the hospital room door at 2 am to glance at the chart. He knew instantly the long odds faced by the patient inside: A man in his 70s, with a fever, short of breath.

"Do you mind calling my son?" the patient asked him. "My two grandsons tomorrow morning are going to crawl in my bed because they wake me up on the weekends, and if I'm not there, they will wonder."

Twelve hours later, the man needed a ventilator.

In three days, he was dead - one of 151 people who had succumbed to Covid-19 in Louisiana by late Sunday.

The state has confirmed 3,540 cases since March 9 - among the world's fastest-growing infection rates.

That pace, Governor John Bel Edwards has said, signals that the state could become the next Italy, with overwhelmed hospitals forced to turn patients away. - REUTERS