Trump blames states for not having enough ventilators, but California is stepping in to help, even as it prepares for a surge in cases

California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks in front of the hospital ship USNS Mercy that arrived into the Port of Los Angeles on March 27.

  • California will lend 500 ventilators to the US federal stockpile, to be used by states like New York, which are struggling with rising coronavirus caseloads.
  • Oregon and Washington have also committed to sending ventilators to states in need.
  • California is lending the ventilators even as it prepares for an expected surge in coronavirus cases as confirmed COVID-19 case count hits 15,824 in the state, with 372 deaths.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

As President Donald Trump downplays states' needs for ventilators and blames them for failing to buy and keep health care equipment, three states have stepped up and committed to sending ventilators where they're needed.

California is the latest state to declare it will lend ventilators to the US stockpile, to be used by states struggling with rising coronavirus caseloads, the Associated Press reported. The US has a nationwide shortage of critical medical supplies.Advertisement

On Monday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced it would send 500 ventilators. He said: "We're very proud to be able to extend a hand of support with those 500 ventilators and send them back east."

He said the state was "working day and night to find new ventilators" but if California could it would share medical equipment. "Absolutely, unequivocally we will do that," he said, according to AP.

California is lending the ventilators even as it prepares for an expected surge in coronavirus cases as the confirmed COVID-19 case count hits 15,824 in the state, with 372 deaths.
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Oregon and Washington have already committed to sending ventilators to other states. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said 140 ventilators would be sent, while Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said 400 ventilators would be returned to the national stockpile, from an original loan of 500 ventilators.

While the states show a willingness to help each other out, Trump said states have exaggerated the need for ventilators and blamed them for not having enough. At a press briefing on Saturday, Trump said: "[Ventilator] shortages have led to inflated requests. We have some states and areas that are just asking for far more than they need," he said, without specifying which states he meant.Advertisement

Last week, according to The Guardian, he said: "By the way, the states should have been building their stockpiles. Ideally, those states should have had the equipment. We're (the federal government) a back-up not an ordering clerk."

In late March, Trump's administration did send 170 ventilators to California, after the state requested 10,000 ventilators. The only problem was that none of them worked.

Newsom said at a press conference: "Rather than complaining about it, rather than pointing fingers about it ... We got a car and a truck, we had those 170 taken to a facility." California hospitals now have more than 11,000 ventilators, after buying new ones as well as fixing up old or broken ventilators. Advertisement

The federal government has provided California with about 837,000 N95 masks, 1.31 million gloves, and nearly 2 million surgical masks.

Newsom said while California was lending ventilators to states in need, it needed to continue to add more to its own stockpile.

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