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Pritzker: Illinois is competing in a “wild, wild west” for medical supplies

jb pritzker on cnn

SPRINGFIELD (CAPITOL BUREAU) - Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker says several states are competing with each other to get crucial medical supplies to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Pritzker explained the situation to CNN's Jake Tapper on State of the Union.

Pritzker said the federal government is helping more than they were previously as the Federal Emergency Management Agency is "more prepared for this than the other agencies were." But, Pritzker noted Illinois has only received a fraction of the personal protection equipment (PPE) medical workers need.

"We just got a call this morning before I went on the air that we're going to receive another shipment of PPE later today or tomorrow from FEMA," Pritzker said. "But it's a fraction still of what we requested. We need millions of masks and hundreds of thousands of gowns and gloves and the rest."

The governor said Illinois is on the open market competing for the essential supplies. He explained staff are "working the phones" to get the products shipped to medical staff across the state. Tapper mentioned it was odd to see Pritzker suggesting a competition with other governors to get the supplies for their states, but Pritzker said it has become reality. "This should have been a coordinated effort by the federal government." Pritzker claimed President Donald Trump's efforts to help with the manufacturing of supplies "hasn't gone into effect in any way."

"So, yes, we're competing against each other. We're competing against other countries. You know, it's a wild, wild west - I would say - out there. And indeed, we're overpaying, I would say, for PPE because of that competition," Pritzker said.

President Trump responded to Pritzker's statements several hours later on Twitter.

Gov. Pritzker hit tweeting Trump should "Get off Twitter and do your job."

There were 753 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Saturday afternoon. Six people have died from the virus in Illinois. The governor is scheduled to give his daily briefing on the pandemic response at 2:30 p.m.

Mike Miletich

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