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Nikki Haley: ‘Look no further than the governors’

Nearly 11 million N95 masks were delivered to hotspots across the country, reported President Trump on Wednesday, including 6.6 million to New York and New Jersey, 1.8 million to Chicago, 1.7 million to Detroit, and 837,000 to New Orleans. 

Over 8,000 ventilators have been delivered and almost 10,000 are ready to be distributed. On Wednesday, 750,000 protective gowns landed in Dallas A shipment of 300 million face masks is expected to arrive in May.

The president announced that the federal government has partnered with health technology company Philips to double the manufacturing of ventilators by May, with plans to quadruple production later this year. Trump said he is eliminating bureaucratic barriers “to help ensure our country can permanently produce enough ventilators in the future that we can do it by ourselves.” 

Some political leaders, including former Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, say principal responsibility still falls to the governors of each state to acquire and distribute medical supplies and equipment.

“Once a crisis hits, state responsibility is primary. The federal government can provide crucial resources, but the burden is on the governor and her team to distribute them,” Haley wrote in a New York Times op-ed Wednesday.

“As our highest nationally elected leader, of course President Trump has enormous responsibility in this unprecedented crisis, and he is marshaling the federal response on a massive scale. But in implementing plans to save people’s lives and keep our economy afloat, look no further than the governors.”

Governor Gavin Newsom secured 200 million face masks per month for the state of California in a recently announced $1.4 billion planned investment deal in personal protection equipment for medical and frontline workers. Newsom announced he worked with non-profit organizations and a California-based manufacturer in an interview with MSNBC Tuesday.

“While we’ve had a little support from the national stockpile, we haven’t relied on that,” Newsom said at a press briefing Wednesday. “We made a big, bold bet on a new strategy and it is bearing fruit.”

President Trump told reporters last month that they can get [supplies] faster by getting them on their own. The administration has since launched Project Airbridge to expedite the arrival of needed medical supplies and equipment.

Vice President Mike Pence stated on Wednesday that “our continuing focus is on making sure that healthcare workers have the personal protection equipment to do their job safely and provide the level of care that every one of us would want.”

Pence also responded to a reporter regarding state struggles to acquire personal protective equipment, including Kansas. 

“We spoke to [governors] about the approach that we are taking,” Pence said. “Traditionally governors are accustomed to… have a declaration of emergency approved, and then resources flow from FEMA. In this situation… we make sure as the coronavirus epidemic impacts individual areas, that the healthcare workers and families and patients impacted have what they need when they need it.”

Trump reported additional ventilators may be used to provide assistance to other countries as well.

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