For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today urged President Donald Trump to fully utilize the Defense Production Act to immediately prioritize the production of masks, respirators, and other critical items that health care workers, first responders, and law enforcement desperately need to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
“North Carolina is taking smart, decisive steps to protect people and fight this pandemic, but we can’t do it alone,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “We need the federal government and President Trump to act now to increase resources, protect people who are on the front lines of responding to this crisis, and get more people tested. It is a matter of life or death.”
In the letter, Attorney General Stein and 15 other attorneys general urge President Trump to fully use the Defense Production Act to dramatically increase:
- Health care capacity. The U.S. health care system needs more ventilators and ICU beds.
- The supply of personal protective equipment for health care providers, law enforcement, and other first responders. 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.
- COVID-19 testing capacity. 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. In turn, health care providers and public health officials can make better-informed medical decisions and 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.”
Attorney General Stein is joined in sending today’s letter by the Attorneys General of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Washington D.C., and Wisconsin.
A copy of the letter is available here.
Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484