When the global coronavirus pandemic was ravaging China – well before the first death in the U.S. – the Trump administration was encouraging U.S. manufacturers to ship millions of dollars of face masks and other protective medical equipment to China in January and February.
The Trump administration had hoped the COVID-19 outbreak would be contained in China, using information provided from the country and the World Health Organization. President Donald Trump had banned travel from China at the end of January.
The Washington Post reported the findings as a way to claim "the move underscores the Trump administration's failure to recognize and prepare for the growing pandemic threat."
The first U.S. death came March 1.
"Instead of taking steps to prepare, they ignored the advice of one expert after another," Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, claimed to the Post. "People right now, as we speak, are dying because there have been inadequate supplies of PPE."
The value of the goods shipped out before the first U.S. COVID-19 death grew 1,000% from the prior year, from $1.4 million to $17.6 million, the Post reported from economic data and internal government documents.
"This is one of multiple failures that have contributed to a significant loss of life in the United States," Doggett told the Post. "At the very time that Trump is having his first press conference with his coronavirus team, his administration is hawking the vital medical supplies under the title, 'COVID-19 to China.'"
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, who is now installed as the coronavirus task force supply chain leader, said the shipping of supplies to China was a function of China's lack of transparency on what would become a global pandemic, killed nearly 40,000 Americans since March 1.
"While China was silent on the seriousness of the crisis, they were quietly buying up a large portion of the world's global supply for masks and other PPE," Peter Navarro told the Post.
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