Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

U.S. sent millions of face masks to China early this year, ignoring pandemic warning signs

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See previous post for another reason this Washington Post report by Juliet Eilperin,
Jeff Stein, Desmond Butler, and Tom Hamburger is so galling:

U.S. manufacturers shipped millions of dollars of face masks and other protective medical equipment to China in January and February with encouragement from the federal government, a Washington Post review of economic data and internal government documents has found. The move underscores the Trump administration’s failure to recognize and prepare for the growing pandemic threat.

In those two months, the value of protective masks and related items exported from the United States to China grew more than 1,000 percent compared with the same time last year — from $1.4 million to about $17.6 million, according to a Post analysis of customs categories which, according to research by Public Citizen, contain key PPE. Similarly, shipments of ventilators and protective garments jumped by triple digits.

“Instead of taking steps to prepare, they ignored the advice of one expert after another,” said Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Tex.). “People right now, as we speak, are dying because there have been inadequate supplies of PPE.”

While the percentage increase of exports to China was steep, they represent a small fraction of the overall U.S. need. Throughout the country, the shortage has forced hospitals, nursing homes and first responders to ration masks and other protective gear as they treat infected and high-risk patients, creating a secondary health crisis among first line providers.

In the early days of the covid-19’s exponential march across the globe, when it was still mostly contained in China, there was no widespread sense of crisis in the White House. But by the end of January, briefings to White House national security staff made clear that the danger of a major pandemic was real. By then seven Americans had fallen ill, and experts said the need for an adequate supply of protective gear should have been apparent.

Nonetheless, on Jan. 30, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Fox Business that the outbreak could “accelerate the return of jobs to North America” because companies would move factories away from impacted areas.

On Feb. 26 — when total deaths had reached 2,770, nearly all in China — the Commerce Department published a flier titled “CS China COVID Procurement Service,” guiding American firms on how to sell “critical medical products” to China and Hong Kong through Beijing’s fast-tracked sales process. Doggett obtained the flier — from the division of the International Trade Association’s Commercial Services Office in China — and other Commerce communications.

On March 3, a commercial officer in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing notified colleagues about the “new service” Commerce was offering, according to an email.

“The CS China healthcare team has been busy working with Chinese government procurement agents and U.S. companies to address local healthcare needs. We created the China and Hong Kong COVID Procurement Service — please find the flyer attached. We welcome you to send this flier to relevant U.S. manufacturers and suppliers.” . . .

Continue reading.

Many Americans continue to express strong support for President Trump and his clown show. I do not know why.

Written by Leisureguy

18 April 2020 at 2:50 pm

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