The United States has launched a desperate diplomatic campaign to fill major shortcomings in the country’s medical system amid a rising death toll from the coronavirus.
According to Press TV, the State Department instructed its top diplomats to urge Eastern Europe and Eurasia’s governments to ramp up exports of life-saving medical equipment to the United States in order to fill the shortcomings as the corona crisis is deepening.
Trump’s Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, David Hale asked all officials at embassies across Europe and Eurasia to report on what foreign countries would be able to sell “critical medical supplies and equipment” to the United States, Foreign Policy said.
“Depending on critical needs, the United States could seek to purchase many of these items in the hundreds of millions with purchases of higher end equipment such as ventilators in the hundreds of thousands,” David Hale said in an email. He said the request applies to host countries “minus Moscow.”
The email came from an official at the Office of US Assistance to Europe, Eurasia, and Central Asia—an office that under normal circumstances coordinates delivering US aid and assistance to countries in Eurasia and Europe.
The request undercut claims by President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly insisted that the United States can handle demands for tests and medical equipment on its own, FP noted.
“We have so many companies making so many products—every product that you mentioned, plus ventilators and everything else. We have car companies—without having to use the act (Defense Production Act to). If I don’t have to use—specifically, we have the act to use, in case we need it. But we have so many things being made right now by so many—they’ve just stepped up,” Trump said on March 21.
There are over 42,600 coronavirus cases and at least 540 deaths in the US as of early Tuesday morning.
US healthcare workers say they desperately grappling with shortages of medical equipment to protect themselves while working at hospitals to take care of patients suffering from the highly contagious coronavirus infection.
Top US health officials have warned that as the coronavirus, COVID-19 spreads across the country, hospitals and first responders are already facing a critical shortage of personal protective equipment needed to safely manage the pandemic.