Last week, President Donald Trump agreed to send Arizona 100 more ventilators from the highly-coveted national stockpile to help combat COVID-19. His approval prompted praise from Gov. Doug Ducey and local Republicans like Sen. Martha McSally.
“Today, POTUS delivers with 100 ventilators headed to AZ,” McSally tweeted. “Thank you to President Trump and @VP for hearing our call.”
McSally’s tweet came exactly 30 minutes after Gov. Doug Ducey shared his own tweet thread, praising the President for “listening to our request.”
The only problem: Trump’s delivery is about 4,900 ventilators short. Ducey had originally requested 5,000.
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Arizona has seen more than 3,800 cases of COVID-19, resulting in 131 deaths and 365 ventilators in use across the state. And a report by the Associated Press determined that the shipment “falls far short of the number originally approved by federal officials for Arizona and is just one-fifth what the state’s top public health official said is needed quickly.”
Two weeks ago, Dr. Cara Christ, the Arizona Department of Health Services director, predicted that Arizona’s peak in COVID-19 cases could be in mid-to-late April, with hospitalizations possibly peaking in May.
Christ said a revised estimate shows the state will need about 1,500 ICU beds with ventilators to treat virus patients. Currently, the state has 1,500 beds with ventilators and about a third in use, so it needs to add about 500 more to meet expected demand.
According to VOX, President Donald Trump has been using lifesaving medical equipment as a way to score political points for Republicans at risk of losing their seats in November, including McSally.
McSally is running against former astronaut Mark Kelly, and recent polls show Kelly in the lead. In 2018, the senator lost to Democratic rival Kyrsten Sinema, but Gov. Ducey appointed her to finish Sen. John McCain’s term after his passing.
After the announcement that Arizona would receive 100 out of the 5,000 requested ventilators, Gov. Ducey praised both McSally and the Trump administration for their efforts.
“My thanks to Senator Martha McSally for advocating for these ventilators and helping make this happen,” he said. “Our goal is that we will never need these ventilators and can eventually send them to other regions of the country, but this action by President Trump and Vice President Pence will help ensure Arizona is prepared for a worst-case scenario.”