Hartford, CT – Attorney General William Tong today joined 16 attorneys in a letter urging President Donald Trump to fully utilize the Defense Production Act to immediately prioritize the production of masks, ventilators, and other critical items needed by health care workers, first responders, and law enforcement across the United States.
“We have health care workers and first responders working right now in Connecticut without adequate protective gear. We have nowhere near the numbers of ventilators we know we will need very, very soon. We don’t have time to stand by and wait to see if the free market solves the problem. We need the President to use his authority now to marshal every possible resource to respond to this crisis,” said Attorney General Tong.
In the letter, the attorneys general urge President Trump to fully use the Defense Production Act to dramatically increase (1) health care capacity; (2) the supply of personal protective equipment for health care providers, law enforcement, and other first responders; and (3) COVID-19 testing capacity. The U.S. health care system needs more ventilators and ICU beds. Those on the front lines of the response to the coronavirus need personal protective equipment such as N95 respirators, surgical masks, face shields, eye protection, gloves, gowns, sanitizers, cleaning supplies, and thermometers. There is a nationwide need to increase the supply of the reagents and swabs used for COVID-19 testing so that testing can be expanded substantially and, in turn, better-informed medical decisions can be made, public health officials can more effectively tailor their decisions to local conditions, and the coronavirus can be better understood and defeated sooner.
The attorneys general state in the letter, “We are on the brink of catastrophic consequences resulting from the continued shortage of critical supplies. The federal government must act decisively now and use its sweeping authority to get as many needed supplies produced as soon as possible for distribution as quickly as possible.”
The following states signed the letter: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Washington D.C., and Wisconsin. Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul led the coalition.