During a press conference on Sunday, Donald Trump took aim at the medical workers who are risking their lives to take care of those infected with the novel coronavirus. In true-to-form conspiracy-theorist fashion, the impeached president claimed that “something’s going on” with the masks being sent to New York, now considered the epicenter of the country’s COVID-19 pandemic.
“How do you go from using 10,000 to 20,000 [masks] to 300,000?” Trump asked during a press briefing. “Even though this is different—something’s going on. Where are the masks going? Are they going out the back door?”
Trump’s comments come amid long-running reports that medical workers all over the country are being forced to wear masks intended for single use, throughout the duration of their shifts. States like Washington, California, New York and New Jersey are particularly concerned by the shortage that further increases the risk to health care workers. As they continue an ongoing fight against the deadly illness, those on the frontlines are falling ill at rapid rates.
Presidential hopeful Joe Biden was particularly disturbed by the comments Trump made on Sunday. In a tweet, the former VP said, “I am issuing this challenge to the President: In the next 48 hours, direct the production and distribution of respirator masks, gloves, protective face shields and gowns to fill every supply request made by a governor to the federal government. Lives are at stake.”
According to the HuffPost, Biden elaborated in a statement, saying that Trump’s comments are “ridiculous and completely false.” He added, “Today’s conspiracy-mongering from our President is among the most reckless and ignorant moves he has made during this crisis—and there have been many. Lives hang in the balance.”
In recent weeks, the White House has reinstated daily press briefings to deliver updates on the coronavirus pandemic. However, news outlets are starting to question whether they should air the national news addresses live, given the false and inaccurate information given. Last week, a Washington-based NPR station stopped live airings “due to a pattern of false or misleading information provided that cannot be fact-checked in real time.” A New York Times article published last week suggests that other media outlets may follow suit.
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