I’m so tired of writing about the Coronavirus pandemic, and I’m sure most of you are equally sick of reading about it–or receiving updates to the monumentally-long list of ways the Trump administration continues to commit malpractice–or worse.
But the hits keep coming…
You know we are in uncharted territory when a Republican governor admits that he is hiding protective gear and testing supplies from the federal government.
Not only is the administration not helping states navigate this pandemic, it is appropriating critically needed supplies and according to multiple reports, doling them out in ways that favor political allies and punish states seen as insufficiently enamored of “dear leader.”
Now, a report from the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services has again highlighted the multiple failures of the administration. (There’s a reason Trump is constantly firing or otherwise neutering Inspectors General…) Update: Yesterday, Trump–reportedly furious– fired the IG who submitted this report.
NBC News reports that the HHS IG found that hospitals across the United States are lacking supplies as basic as thermometers, even as they’re being undercut by their own federal government in trying to acquire new supplies.
“Vendors have told us that they need to send whatever they have to the national stockpile,” said Ruthanne Sudderth, senior vice president for the Michigan Health & Hospital Association.
Additionally, the report found that supplies delivered to states by the federal government were either inadequate or defective.
“One hospital received two shipments from the Federal Emergency Management Agency with protective gear that had expired in 2010,” NBC News writes. “Another hospital system received 1,000 masks from federal and state governments, even though it expected a much larger delivery, and ‘500 of the masks were for children and therefore unusable for adult staff,’ the report said.”
Professionals have characterized these and other failures listed in the report as “unprecedented.” (One hospital administrator reported sending his staff to auto part shops, home supply stores, beauty salons and art supply stores in an effort to find gloves and masks.)
Hospital administrators around the country also complain that conflicting guidance from federal, state and local governments is causing confusion.
A report on the situation from NBC News met with a response directly out of that “alternate reality” Trump inhabits.
President Donald Trump on Saturday said hospital administrators speaking to his administration were “thrilled” about their situation.
“Many hospital administrators that we’ve been in touch with, even in the really hotspots — you know what they are — are communicating directly with us that their level of supplies are meeting essential needs. And at the current time, they’re really thrilled to be where they are,” Trump told reporters.
All of the other failures reported pale in comparison to the shortage of testing supplies. The inability to test sufficient numbers of people and to get the results of those tests promptly delays the day the nation can reopen, and further strains an already inadequate system.
Diagnostic testing kits to identify patients or staff members with the virus were also in short supply, according to the inspector general. Hospitals said they were struggling with “a severe shortage of test kits,” limiting their ability to monitor the health of patients and staff members, the report said. There were also problems with incomplete testing kits missing nasal swabs or reagents to detect the virus.
“Across the industry millions are needed and we only have hundreds,” a hospital administrator was quoted as saying.
The shortage of testing kits was aggravated by delays in testing results, straining hospital resources and bed capacity as doctors waited for the results, the report said. One hospital reported test results’ taking as long as eight days, it said.
Hospitals said that presumptive patients waiting for test results took up bed capacity needed for other patients, according to the report, and that staff members were forced to use personal protective equipment, or PPE, as a precaution because of the slow pace of test results, wasting precious resources.
The armed idiots storming state capitols to demand an end to measures that are saving lives should be storming the White House and demanding competent governance.
But of course, that would require another possession that is apparently in short supply, at least in their ranks: cognitive capacity.