Trump suggests doctors complain about lack of coronavirus equipment in order to get on TV

Donald Trump takes part in a White House briefing on the coronavirus pandemic: Getty Images
Donald Trump takes part in a White House briefing on the coronavirus pandemic: Getty Images

Donald Trump has implied doctors and elected officials say they do not have enough personal protective equipment (PPE) and other materials to get on television amid the coronavirus crisis.

The US president had a row with Jim Acosta, CNN’s chief White House correspondent, over the shortage of PPE, which includes essential gear such as hand sanitiser, gloves, aprons, and face masks, during his coronavirus press briefing.

Acosta said: “We hear from a lot of people who see these briefings as sort of ‘happy talk’ briefings. And some of the officials don’t paint as rosy a picture of what is happening around the country. If you look at some of these questions – do we have enough masks? No. Do we have enough tests? No. Do we have enough PPE? No.”

Mr Trump interjected: “Why would you say that? The answer is yes. I think the answer is yes.”

Acosta referred to doctors and other medical officials who have vented their frustrations about the dearth of essential equipment on CNN.

The president hit back: “A lot of it is fake news.”

Acosta said: “Doctors and medical officers come on our air and say ‘we don’t have enough tests, we don’t have enough masks’.”

Mr Trump chipped in: “Well yeah, depending on your air they are always going to say that because otherwise, you are not going to put them on.”

The spat comes as doctors and healthcare workers across America are battling against a shortage of face masks which safeguard them against coronavirus – sparking fears doctors will not be able to provide life-saving care if they fall ill.

America has become the first country in the world to record more than 2,000 people dying from coronavirus in one day alone, according to Johns Hopkins University figures.

People who contract coronavirus in the US are at greater risk than those in the UK or Canada due to America not having a national health service.

Americans are at risk of running up bills for coronavirus treatment which force them to fork out tens of thousands of dollars. The situation is exacerbated by the fact many have lost their healthcare insurance due to job losses linked to the pandemic.

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