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US to send $100 million worth of medical supplies to Italy and other European countries, says Trump

New York mayor Andrew Cuomo has warned the city was running out of essential equipment like ventilators.

Image: PA Images

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump said the United States will send medical equipment for combating the coronavirus pandemic to Italy, and later to France and Spain.

Trump, speaking at his daily briefing, went into few specifics about the type of aid or the timing, but said a large quantity was destined for Italy, which has the world’s highest pandemic death toll.

“We’re going to be sending approximately $100 million worth of, of things, of surgical and medical and hospital things to Italy,” he said, adding that Italy’s prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, was “very, very happy I will tell you that.”

The White House said Trump and Conte had spoken by phone on Monday.

Trump ”reiterated the commitment of the United States to working with Italy and all of our European Allies and partners to stop the spread of the virus and get medical care to all of those in need,” in a statement.

Trump has been criticized for an initially slow response by the federal government to the now-accelerating pandemic spread in the United States.

Harrowing scenes from hospitals in New York and elsewhere revealed a health system unprepared with basic supplies such as face masks, as well as life-saving devices like respirators.

“We’re also sending things that we don’t need to other parts,” he said.

Trump said that when “we outpace what we need” on ventilators, they too will be shipped.

New York’s mayor had warned just over a week ago that the city was running out of essential equipment like ventilators.

“Please come help us in New York now,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said as the state’s death toll climbed by more than 250 in a single day to a total of more than 1,200 victims, most of them in the city.

He said an additional one million health care workers are needed to tackle the crisis.

 “We’ve lost over 1,000 New Yorkers,” Cuomo said. “To me, we’re beyond staggering already. We’ve reached staggering.”

Even before the governor’s appeal, close to 80,000 former nurses, doctors and other professionals in New York were stepping up to volunteer.

Meanwhile a Navy hospital ship, also sent to the city after 9/11, had arrived with 1,000 beds to relieve pressure on overwhelmed hospitals.

The spike in deaths in New York was another sign of the long fight ahead against the global pandemic, which was filling Spain’s intensive care beds to capacity and shutting millions of Americans inside.

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The US has reported more than 160,000 infections and over 2,900 deaths, with New York City the nation’s worst hot spot.

However New Orleans, Detroit and a number of other cities are also seeing alarming clusters.

“Anyone who says this situation is a New York City-only situation is in a state of denial,” Cuomo said.

“You see this virus move across the state. You see this virus move across the nation. There is no American who is immune to this virus.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US government’s top infectious-disease expert, similarly warned that smaller cities are likely about to see cases “take off” the way they have in New York City. 

With reporting from PA

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