President Trump on Tuesday called it the “scariest day” of his life when he had learned the United States might not have enough ventilators to fight the novel coronavirus.
“The scariest day of my life was about a month ago when after a long day of meetings, my team told me that we were going to be needing 130,000 ventilators, that we were short hundreds of thousands of ventilators,” President Trump told reporters at the White House coronavirus briefing.
The public-private partnership, dubbed the Dynamic Ventilator Reserve, will see the U.S. build some 200,000 ventilators by the end of the year after the COVID-19 pandemic revealed a nationwide shortage in the wake of a health crisis.
Trump blamed previous administrations, saying “this is a system we inherited,” while lashing governors for requesting “unreasonable” numbers of ventilators from the federal stockpile.
The administration invoked the Defense Production Act several times last month to compel private companies including General Motors to devote their production lines to ventilator production.
“It was a very powerful hammer in order to manufacture as many ventilators as possible,” Trump said on Tuesday evening of the act.
“Last year, America manufactured, from a dead start, 30,000 ventilators. This year, the number will be over 150,000 ventilators, it could be as high as 200,000 — far more than we will ever need,” he added.
“We will be able to stockpile, we will be able to talk to states about stockpiling.”