The White House is on track to ship 16,000 ventilators to 60 countries in need of coronavirus support by the end of July, a senior Trump administration official told the Daily Caller.
The official explained that figure is a part of the 100,000 ventilators the administration is aiming to produce this summer as part of its new approach to insuring America’s Strategic National Stockpile. The two-pronged strategy, focusing on “shelf life management” and “surge capacity manufacturing,” aims to make the country significantly less vulnerable to future pandemics and “respond even faster” to aid requests from countries across the globe. (RELATED: Trump Administration Focusing On 2 Key Strategies To ‘Reload’ Strategic National Stockpile For Future Pandemics)
The massive ventilator initiative is already underway, the official continued, citing shipments of more than 1,200 units to countries including El Salvador, Russia, and the U.K.
The official remains “mystified” by the media narrative that the U.S. hasn’t lived up to its role as global leader in fighting off the COVID-19 pandemic. He says the country has made great progress toward ramping up manufacturing of ventilators, medical equipment and other personal protective equipment.
“We were seeing a narrative that the U.S. didn’t take the lead, or that we failed to show international leadership in this pandemic,” the official said. “We were mystified by that given the amount of activity President Trump has overseen on this front.”
A number of media outlets have published articles critical of a perceived lack of U.S. international aid amid the pandemic, saying China has been moving to usurp America’s traditional role. The official brought forward data to assert the U.S. had ramped up its foreign aid in response to the virus and continues to do so in excess of any other country.
When President Donald Trump put a funding freeze on the World Health Organization in April, he pointed out the U.S. has long been its largest contributor. The U.S. donated $400 million to the organization in 2018 alone, only withdrawing that funding because the organization “failed so spectacularly in its early response to COVID,” the official said.
“We need that money to be accountable and effective,” he added.
A senior administration official told the Daily Caller that the $400 million previously designated for the WHO is only a small fraction of America’s $9.9 billion annual global health budget. The number has steadily risen from $5.4 billion in 2006, and the official said it has exploded by an additional $9 billion since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. (RELATED: Senator Josh Hawley Bill Calls For COVID-19 ‘Compensation’ From Chinese Communist Party)
“We tried to find as generous an estimate as we could for what China’s contribution to global health is and we came up with 400 million,” the official said Thursday.
The official also asserted China uses its U.N. classification as a “developing nation” to borrow more funds from the World Bank annually than it donates in health funding.
With regard to just the WHO, China contributes roughly $40 million for America’s $400 million. Much of the protective equipment China was praised for delivering was also reportedly defective and came with strings attached.
Christian Datoc contributed to this report.