Coronavirus: Trump contradicts nurse who reports shortages of protective gear

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Trump addresses a ceremony where he signed a proclamation in honour of National Nurses Day, at the White House. PHOTO: NYTIMES

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - President Donald Trump contradicted a nurse who said during a meeting with him at the White House on Wednesday (May 6) that some parts of the country are still experiencing shortages of protective medical gear, insisting the US supply is "tremendous."

The exchange happened during an Oval Office event to recognise National Nurses Day.

A reporter asked Luke Adams, whom the White House identified as a "volunteer nurse" from New York state, whether he had sufficient supplies of personal protective equipment, or PPE. He said yes.

But another participant, Sophia Thomas, president of the National Association of Nurse Practitioners, then said that there were pockets of the country without good protective equipment.

She works at the Daughters of Charity Health System in the New Orleans area.

She said she had been wearing the same N95 face mask for "a few weeks" and called the supply of PPE at her health system "sporadic" but "manageable."

She said she and her colleagues do what they have to do.

Trump interrupted.

"Sporadic for you" but not for a lot of other people, he said.

Thomas agreed.

Trump insisted the country is "now loaded up" and added: "I've heard we have tremendous supply to almost all places."

Other nurses in the Oval Office agreed with him.

Maria Arvonio, a nursing supervisor at a community hospital in Willingboro, New Jersey, said she had not heard of any gear shortages in her area, even though it is considered a "hot zone" of infections.

"I really appreciate you saying that. It's so nice that you stepped up because they're fake news," Trump said, referring to members of the news media who asked about protective equipment.

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