President Trump was warned by his own intelligence officials in January that COVID-19 presented an imminent threat should the virus catalyze within U.S. borders, and instead of taking immediate action to prevent further spread of the disease, the president continued to publicly deny it’s very existence.
Now Pennsylvania is feeling the pain.
As of April 7, there are reported total of over 14,580 total cases of coronavirus and 240 deaths due to complications from the virus in Pennsylvania. And as the U.S. economy takes a dramatic nosedive from the fallout, more than 1 million Pennsylvanian’s have applied for unemployment insurance since March 15.
All the while the president is dangling with the idea of opening the country again by Easter – an estimate that even his own pandemic response leader, Dr. Anthony Fauci has questioned – forcing state authorities like Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolfe to intervene, ordering non-essential businesses to close their doors to freeze the spread of the virus.
And without a federal mandate from the White House, Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Health has reached out to mining communities in the state to help provide masks to health care workers who are most at risk of contracting COVID-19. Faced with a statewide shortage, nurses are reportedly reusing single-use masks and now account for half of Philadelphia’s new coronavirus cases.
“We don’t have the equipment that we need to properly protect us,” said Maureen May, a nurse at Temple University Hospital and president of the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP).
Trump has yet to use the full power of the Defense Production Act, which authorizes the U.S. supply chain to produce medical equipment such as ventilators and masks to combat the rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak.