While the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 1 urged countries to stockpile respiratory ventilators, a major treatment option available for COVID-19 infection, the Trump administration said the United States has a stockpile to deal with the crisis.
“In the U.S., we are fortunate to have a Strategic National Stockpile which has maintained a ventilator stockpile since 2001. Additional ventilators were already scheduled to be delivered to SNS this year,” a Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson told The Epoch Times on March 2.
In a statement (pdf), the WHO provided guidance to clinically manage those with severe infections and asked countries to implement “proven critical care interventions such as lung protective ventilation.”
“Oxygen therapy is the major treatment intervention for patients with severe COVID-19. All countries should work to optimize the availability of pulse oximeters and medical oxygen systems,” the U.N. agency said.
As the week began, the coronavirus death count in the United States reached six, and more than 100 cases of the disease have been reported.
A spokesperson from the Washington State Department of Health Joint Information Center said many hospitals in the state are equipped to accept patients with infectious disease.
“The reason some COVID-19 cases were sent to Spokane last month is because that hospital is one of 10 in the nation with a highly specialized setup,” the spokesperson said.
New York reported its first case of the infection on March 2, and Jill Montag, a spokesperson of the State Department of Health, told The Epoch Times that the state is prepared to deal with the crisis.
“The New York State Department maintains a medical stockpile for medical counter measures and durable medical equipment, including personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, and antivirals,” she said.
Tests for the coronavirus could be carried out on up to a million people by the end of week, the FDA said on March 2. Cases of the virus have now been reported in 12 states–the majority of them in California and Washington state.
The California Department of Public Health gave no specific information on the availability of ventilators at the time of this report.
President Donald Trump and his Coronavirus Task Force met with some of the biggest and the most prestigious pharmaceutical and biotechnological companies in the world in the Cabinet Room on March 2, to discuss the acceleration of the development of vaccines and therapeutic treatment for the infection.
The president and his task force said in a statement that they’re working to “expedite the longer process of developing a vaccine” and are also quickly developing therapies to help people recover.
“It’s likely that therapies will be available before a vaccine is actually ready, and we’ll seek to bring all effective treatments to market as soon as possible,” Trump said.
He said the coronavirus highlights the importance of manufacturing domestically what the United States needs to protect public health.
The White House Coronavirus Task Force had a telephone conference call with 53 governors on March 2, and the president is scheduled to visit the National Institute of Health and the CDC on March 3.
CNN contributed to this report.