President Donald Trump on Saturday accused medical professionals of thoughtlessly wasting the protective masks now in short supply

Image result for mask and coronavirus medical gear

However, those who work in emergency rooms have a very different story to tell.

HuffPost talked to doctors, nurses and emergency medical technicians in California, New Jersey, Hawaii and Rhode Island about what it’s like fighting the pandemic. As they report for duty, the stock of personal protective equipment (PPE), which helps keep them and their patients safe and curbs the spread of the coronavirus, is running dangerously low.

These professionals said they were being asked to reuse respiratory masks for multiple shifts, even though the masks are designed as one-time-use products. One of the busiest emergency departments in Los Angeles County suggested their nurses and doctors bring in bandanas and scarves in case they run out of the masks.

“The ER is considered a war zone right now,” said Heather, a nurse based in Los Angeles County.

— Carla H. Russo

 

Image result for mask and coronavirus medical gear

The White House’s coronavirus task force could not provide a solid answer on Saturday about when health care workers across the country can expect to receive more protective masks, of which there is a nationwide shortage.

During a press conference, President Donald Trump appeared defensive about his response to the viral outbreak, baselessly blaming the previous administration for supply shortages and accusing health care workers of needlessly throwing away masks. He encouraged them to “sanitize” and reuse the masks instead.

Other officials also deflected repeated questions by reporters on when supplies would reach the health care workers who need them. Doctors and nurses across the U.S. are warning of dangerously low reserves of personal protective equipment and are being forced to reuse what they have now.

— Carla H. Russo

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