Blumenthal: Feds’ Response To Coronavirus A ‘Grave Shortcoming’

Joe Avellar
February 28, 2020 - 3:14 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — After meeting with Connecticut state and local health officials on Friday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal says he does not think the United States is prepared for a coronavirus outbreak.

Speaking with WCBS 880’s Joe Avellar, Blumenthal said he recently learned “there is a potential real shortage of essential equipment and tools needed to diagnose and treat the potential looming crisis with this dreaded disease.”

The Democrat notes that he’s already heard there could be a shortage of gloves and other protective equipment – especially masks – and diagnostic tests.

“We’re facing a looming crisis and Washington is doing little or nothing and what it’s doing is too late,” Blumenthal said.

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He says the federal government must act now to spur the manufacturing of essential equipment tools. While he doesn’t want to create a panic, he says is crucial the United States prepare for a potential pandemic.

“This protective gear, everything from the rooms and quarantine equipment to protective gear – masks, gloves, thermometers – but also diagnostic tests, they're all going to be in short supply,” Blumenthal stressed.

While the Connecticut lawmaker is sounding the alarm, the Trump administration has taken a calmer approach.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump held a press conference to address fears of the virus and tried to quell any concerns but highlighting that the flu kills thousands of Americans every year and there are still only a handful of confirmed coronavirus cases.

Still, the president said the government is ready to spend “whatever’s appropriate” to stop an outbreak. He also selected Vice President Mike Pence to oversee the nation’s response efforts.

Blumenthal disagrees with the calm approach.

“The administration seems more interested in clamping down on information and happy talk, as well as censoring experts who have knowledge, than it is in keeping us safe,” the Democrat said. “That is a betrayal of public interest and it also causes a destruction of public trust – which is so essential to public health.”

He adds: “The administration is squandering and betraying public interest and public trust in public health and that is a grave shortcoming.”

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