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Mayors, County Executives call for a federal effort to coordinate purchasing and distribution of medical equipment during the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis

Last updated: 4/20/2020

Dear President Trump, 

Cities, towns, and counties across the country have already been hit hard by the novel coronavirus pandemic. Now many of our hospitals and health care facilities face obstacles in obtaining the medical equipment they need to protect healthcare workers and treat the projected number of COVID-19 patients.(1)

Centralized, federal leadership is necessary for the efficient and economical purchase and distribution of medical equipment, including personal protective equipment and ventilators.(2) State and local governments depend on the federal government for aid and assistance during times of national emergency.(3) Just as importantly, without central coordination, states will be forced to compete against each other for critical supplies, leading to an inefficient distribution of resources, and resulting in increased risk for members of the public and health care workers.(4)

Unfortunately, the federal government is refusing to use all of its authority, bowing to pressure from business interests like the US Chamber of Commerce.(5)

Therefore, we the undersigned demand the following:

  1. The federal government should immediately establish a “medical equipment czar” and associated task force with the mission of overseeing the national supply and distribution of medical supplies. They should do this for the duration of the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis to maximize the health and wellbeing of the entire U.S. population. Working in close coordination with the Defense Logistics Agency on logistics and national distribution, the task force must be given the resources and authority to:

    1. Forecast the geographic and temporal spread of COVID-19 to anticipate need and to plan distribution of equipment and supplies.

    2. Inventory and monitor the supply of medical equipment.

    3. Ensure adequate production and procurement of equipment, working with the Trump administration to utilize the Defense Production Act to expand production of essential equipment. 

    4. Oversee the purchase and end-to-end distribution of medical equipment.

    5. Monitor and respond to all equipment requests from states, local governments  and/or medical providers.

    6. Undertake any and all additional actions necessary to achieve its stated mission. Actions may include making recommendations to Congress or the President concerning short-term regulatory changes to increase flexibility for manufacturing or use of medical equipment.

  2. The described task force undertakes its mission with full transparency:

    1. Releasing detailed plans for task force organization and resource needs and allocation.

    2. Providing frequent updates throughout the course of the COVID-19 crisis detailing its efforts. That should include updates on any barriers such as funding shortfalls that prevent it from carrying out its mission, so that they may be remedied. 

    3. Providing state and local governments with any information they need to coordinate response efforts.

Thank you for considering our urgent request as cities, towns, and states work together to address this unprecedented public health challenge. 

Sincerely, 

*This list of signers will be updated periodically (current as of 4/13)

 

Mayor Steve Adler- Austin, TX

Mayor Vernard Alsberry- Hazel Crest, IL

Mayor Lee Anderson- Casselton, ND

Mayor Paul Anzano- Hopewell, NJ

Mayor Thomas App- Morton, PA

Mayor Yaniv Aronson- Conshohocken, PA

Mayor Russ Axelrod- West Linn, OR

Mayor Mark Barbee- Bridgeport, PA

Mayor Chuck Bennett- Salem, OR

Mayor Daniel Berard- Northumberland, PA

First Selectman David Bindelglass- Easton, CT

Mayor J. Christian Bollwage- Elizabeth, NJ

Mayor Theresa Branella- Brooklawn, NJ

First Selectman Susan Bransfield- Portland, CT

Mayor Gurdip Brar- City of Middleton, WI

Mayor Paul Brodeur- Melrose, MA

Mayor Michael Cahill- Beverly, MA

Mayor Shari Cantor- West Hartford, CT

President Sheila Chalmers-Currin- Village of Matteson, IL

Mayor Erland Chau- Northfield, NJ

Mayor Gary Christenson- Malden, MA

Mayor Brad Cohen, MD- East Brunswick, NJ

Village President Rodney Craig- Hanover Park, IL

Mayor Samuel Cramblit- Ironton, OH

Mayor Kevin Cunningham- Rutledge, PA

Mayor Carlo DeMaria- Everett, MA

Mayor Andrea Deutsch- Narberth, PA

Mayor Robert Donchez- Bethlehem, PA

Mayor Denny Doyle- Beaverton, OR

Mayor Kimberley Driscoll- Salem, MA

Mayor John Dukes Jr.- East Lansdowne, PA 

Mayor Carolyn Dull- Staunton, VA

County Judge Sarah Eckhardt- Travis County, TX

Mayor Awet Eyasu- Clarkston, GA

Mayor Ron Filippelli- State College, PA

Mayor Drew Fixell- Tarrytown, NY

Mayor Michael Foley- Westbrook, ME

Village President Sandra Frum- Northbrook, IL

Mayor Marita Garrett- Wilkinsburg, PA

Mayor Gregory Garry- Monongahela, PA

Mayor Alanna Gaudiello- Derry, PA

Mayor Eric Genrich- Green Bay, WI

Mayor Nicholas Gradisar- Pueblo, CO

Mayor Michael Hancock- Denver, Colorado 

Mayor John Henry- West View, PA

Mayor Rohan Hepkins- Yeadon, PA

Mayor Dianne Herrin- West Chester, PA

Mayor Gary Herzig- City of Oneonta, NY

Mayor Michael Hess- Brookhaven Borough, PA

Town Supervisor Tistrya Houghtling- New Lebanon, NY

First Selectman Richard Ives- Brooklyn, CT

County Judge Clay Jenkins- Dallas County, TX

Mayor Robert Johnson- Smyrna, DE

Mayor Chardaé Jones- Braddock, PA

Town Administrator Joshua Kelly- Bolton, CT

Mayor Teresa Kernc- Village of Diamond, IL

Mayor Barbarann Keffer- Upper Darby, PA

Mayor Tim Keller- City of Albuquerque, NM

Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland- Chester, PA

Mayor Tim Knapp- City of Wilsonville, OR

Mayor Debra Larouche- West Middlesex, PA

Mayor Kristopher Larsen- Nederland, CO

Mayor Marcia Leclerc- East Hartford, CT

Mayor Curt Leng- Hamden, CT

Mayor Debbie Mahon- Hulmeville, PA

Mayor John Mahoney- Palos Park, IL

Mayor Emily Marburger- Bellevue, PA

Mayor Sean McDermott- Countryside, IL

Mayor Thomas McGee- Lynn, MA

Chairman Jeffrey McKay- Fairfax County, VA

Mayor William McLeod- Hoffman Estates, IL

Mayor Thomas McNamara- Rockford, IL

Mayor Jon Mitchell- New Bedford, MA

Mayor Alex Morse- Holyoke, MA

Mayor Mayor Nickole Nesby- City of Duquesne, PA

Mayor Ron Nirenberg- San Antonio, TX

Mayor Sal Panto- Easton, PA

Mayor Steve Patterson- Athens, OH

Mayor William Peduto- Pittsburgh, PA

Mayor Brian Pugh- Croton on Hudson, NY

Mayor Patricia Randall- Portage, MI

Mayor Harvey Rarback- Half Moon Bay, CA

Village President Rick Reinbold- Richton Park, IL

Mayor Dan Rivera- Lawrence, MA

Mayor Rick Rogers- Newberg, OR

Mayor Matthew Rudzki- Sharpsburg, PA

Council President Sonya Sanders- Norristown, PA

Mayor Domenic Sarno- Springfield, MA

Mayor James Schlegel- Borough of Kutztown, PA

Mayor Norman Seney, Jr- Putnam, CT

Mayor Matthew Shorraw- Monessen, PA

Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui- Cambridge, MA

Mayor Danene Sorace- Lancaster, PA

Mayor Jeanne Sorg- Ambler, PA

Mayor Yvonne Spicer- Framingham, MA

Mayor Marty Spiegel- Swarthmore Borough, PA

Chairperson Beverly Steele- Herbster, WI

Mayor John Stromberg- Ashland, OR

Mayor Sean Strub- Milford, PA

Mayor Hannah Sweet- Arona, PA

Mayor Eric Swenson- Woodburn, OR

Mayor Nicki Todaro- Newell, PA

Mayor Biff Traber- Corvallis, OR

Mayor Jon Vanderbilt- Park Forest, IL

Mayor Zachary Vruwink- Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Mayor Dwan Walker- Aliquippa, PA

Mayor Michael Walsh- De Pere, WI

Mayor Sam Weaver- Boulder, CO

Town Representative Baird Welch-Collins- Waterford, CT

Mayor Robert Winkler- Penndel Borough, PA

Mayor Derek Woellner- Merrill, WI

Mayor Patrick Wojahn- College Park, MD 

Mayor Aidsand Wright-Riggins- Collegeville, PA

Mayor Judah Zeigler- Borough of Leonia, NJ

 

  

 

 

Sources 

[1] Megan Ranney et al., “Critical Supply Shortages — The Need for Ventilators and Personal Protective Equipment during the Covid-19 Pandemic,” New England Journal of Medicine, 25 March 2020, available at https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp2006141.

[2] The World Health Organization suggests, with regard to PPE, that “The management of PPE should be coordinated through essential national and international supply chain management mechanisms”:

World Health Organization, Rational use of personal protective equipment for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), 27 February 2020, available at  https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/331215/WHO-2019-nCov-IPCPPE_use-2020.1-eng.pdf.

[3]  The role of federal government during emergencies is described in: Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Response Framework, Fourth Edition, 29 October 2019, available at https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/117791; An overview and history of federal assistance to states is available in: Federal Emergency Management Agency, A Citizen's Guide to Disaster Assistance, September 2003, available at https://training.fema.gov/emiweb/downloads/is7complete.pdf.

[4] On March 22, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wrote on Twitter that “states are competing against other states for supplies.” https://twitter.com/nygovcuomo/status/1241744786366889984?s=21 And on March 20, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced that Massachusetts had been outbid by the federal government for medical supplies, creating an obstacle to adequately supplying the state: “Gov. Baker Asks President Not To Outbid States On COVID-19 Supplies,” WBUR News, 20 March 2020, available at  https://www.wbur.org/news/2020/03/20/charlie-baker-donald-trump-coronavirus-medical-supplies.

[5] Bess Levin, “Trump Won’t Order Vital Coronavirus Supplies Because Corporate CEOs Asked Him Not To,” Vanity Fair, 23 March  2020, available at https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2020/03/donald-trump-defense-production-act.

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