Trump’s desire to be ‘king of ventilators’ may result in unexpected glut, experts warn

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As requests for ventilators from the national stockpile reached a crescendo in late March, President Donald Trump made what seemed like a bold claim: His administration would provide 100,000 within 100 days.

At the time, the Department of Health and Human Services had not ordered any new ventilators since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in January. But records show that over the following three weeks, the agency scrambled to turn Trump’s pledge into a reality, spending nearly $3 billion to spur U.S. manufacturers to crank out the breathing machines at an unprecedented pace.

An analysis of federal contracting data by The Associated Press shows the agency is now on track to exceed 100,000 new ventilators by around July 13, about a week later than the 100-day deadline Trump first gave on March 27.

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By the end of 2020, the administration is expected to take delivery of nearly 200,000 new ventilators, based on the AP’s review of current federal purchasing contracts. That would more than double the estimated 160,000 ventilators hospitals across the U.S. had before the pandemic.

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“We became the king of ventilators, thousands and thousands of ventilators,” Trump boasted in an April 29 speech.

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