BALTIMORE, MD (March 24, 2020) – Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh today joined a coalition of 16 attorneys general urging President Trump to fully utilize the Defense Production Act to immediately prioritize the production of masks, respirators, and other critical items needed by health care workers, first responders, and law enforcement across the United States.
“COVID-19 is a deadly virus that has resulted in tens of thousands of infected Americans and hundreds of deaths here in the U.S.,” said Attorney General Frosh. “Those individuals serving on the front lines, treating the sick and protecting public safety, should not be left without the necessary equipment to protect themselves and their families from this deadly virus.”
In a letter, the attorneys general urge President Trump to fully use the Defense Production Act to dramatically increase (1) health care capacity; (2) the supply of personal protective equipment for health care providers, law enforcement, and other first responders; and (3) COVID-19 testing capacity. The U.S. health care system needs more ventilators and ICU beds. Health care workers 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 Maryland, the letter was signed by the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.