“The demand on these critical items is not only nationally, it’s globally,” Gaynor said. “So, we’ve been shipping. We shipped today, we’re going to ship tomorrow. We’re linking supplies, not only from the national stockpile, but from vendors and commercial donations.”
But Cuomo, a Democrat, said that because state officials have had to procure the medical supplies needed to treat patients, each state is essentially in competition with one another for the items.
“Currently, when states are doing it, we are competing against other states. In some ways we’re savaging other states. I’m trying to buy masks. I’m competing with California and Illinois and Florida,” he said, adding that price gouging has become “a tremendous problem.”
“We’re competing against each other. We’re competing against other countries. You know, it’s a wild west, I would say, out there. And indeed, we’re overpaying, I would say, for (personal protective equipment), because of that competition,” Pritzker, a Democrat, said on “State of the Union.”
He then responded to Pritzker and other governors directly, saying in a later tweet that they “shouldn’t be blaming the Federal Government for their own shortcomings. We are there to back you up should you fail, and always will be!”
The burden to acquire supplies has been placed on governors and state officials, with Trump saying last week that they should work with private companies to secure masks and other items. Days later, the President said the federal government had procured millions of masks and would be distributing them directly to the states, but officials so far have not provided details on the specific supplies or amounts sent.
The White House has put FEMA in charge of coordinating the federal response, but Pritzker and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy have said that the agency has only fulfilled a portion of the requests they’ve sent.
“We need more (personal protective equipment) both to protect our healthcare workers and to treat the sick,” Murphy, a Democrat, said in an interview Sunday on ABC.
Pritzker told CNN that his state still needs more items so he’s “got people on the phones, working the phones, calling across the world, frankly, to get this stuff shipped to Illinois.”
As of Sunday morning, there are at least 29,235 known cases of the novel coronavirus in the US and more than 300 deaths from the disease caused by the virus, according to a tally by CNN.
This story has been updated with additional developments Sunday.