HARRISBURG―Attorney General Josh Shapiro and a coalition of 16 Attorneys General, led by Wisconsin Attorney General Kaul, today urged President Trump to fully utilize the Defense Production Act so the production of masks, respirators, and other critical items needed by healthcare workers, first responders, and law enforcement across the United States can be prioritized.
“I’ve listened to firsthand accounts of how Pennsylvania businesses are ready to step up to take on the COVID-19 pandemic and we need the President to provide national direction by using the Defense Protection Act to manufacture essential supplies now,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “Medical professionals, law enforcement, and first responders are also telling my Office daily of their need for supplies. We can do this. It’s time for the Administration to use their authority under the Defense Protection Act immediately in order to put the health and safety of Pennsylvanians and Americans first.”
In the letter, the Attorneys General urge the President to fully use the Defense Production Act to dramatically increase health care capacity; the supply of personal protective equipment for health care providers, law enforcement, and other first responders; and COVID-19 testing capacity.
The U.S. healthcare 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.”
In addition to AG Shapiro and AG Kaul, Attorneys General from the following states signed the letter: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and Washington D.C..
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