Coronavirus response whistleblower Dr. Rick Bright said during his House testimony Thursday that “lives were lost” due to the Trump administration’s response, and further warned that because of foreign masks, nurses are still not protected.
“They informed me that they did not believe there was a critical urgency to procure masks,” Bright said of a meeting on February 7th.
“They conducted some surveys, talked to a few hospitals and some companies, and they did not yet see a critical shortage. I indicated that we know there will be a critical shortage of these supplies, we need to do something to ramp up production,” he continued.
“They indicated if we notice there is a shortage that we will simply change the CDC guidelines to better inform people who should not be wearing those masks so that would save those masks for our health care workers.”
He said, “My response was, ‘I cannot believe you can sit and say that with a straight face. It was absurd.'”
“Lives were endangered and I believe lives were lost,” he also told Democratic Florida Rep. Kathy Castor.
He went on to say that masks from other countries that nurses are currently wearing in hospitals are not very effective and that healthcare workers are not protected even today due to these foreign masks not upt to American standards.
“Not only that, we were forced to procure the supplies from other countries without the right quality standards, so even our doctors and nurses in the hospitals today are wearing N95 marked masks from other countries that are not providing the sufficient protection that a U.S. standard N95 mask would provide them,” he told Congress. (RELATED: INTERACTIVE: This Map Shows How Many Have Died From COVID-19 In Each State)
“Some of those masks are only 30% effective. Therefore, nurses are rushing into hospitals thinking they’re protected, and they’re not.”
The Trump White House, meanwhile, is already on the offensive against Bright, with Trump calling him a “disgruntled employee” in a tweet Thursday and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany saying that he hasn’t been “paying attention.”