Apr 13, 2020 - Health

Peter Navarro blames globalization of production for medical shortages

White House Trade and Manufacturing Policy Director Peter Navarro speaks during a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic in the press briefing room of the White House

Peter Navarro during a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The "globalization of production" is to blame for a shortage of essential medical equipment needed to treat the novel coronavirus in the U.S., President Trump's economic adviser Peter Navarro told "60 Minutes" in an interview broadcast Sunday.

Details: Journalist Bill Whitaker asked Navarro how the U.S. could be "blindsided," with hospitals running out of masks and gowns. Navarro blamed "multinational corporations, who salute no flag, who love cheap sweatshop labor, and who love the massive subsidies that the Chinese government throws at production to bring it from here to there." Navarro said, "We wouldn't be having this problem if we had the domestic production."

Of note: During the interview, Navarro dismissed as "fake news" reports that the intelligence community was notifying the administration in January about the potentially catastrophic effects if the coronavirus spread.

  • CBS noted Axios obtained memos a few days after the prerecorded "60 Minutes interview" that showed Navarro himself saying "almost exactly that."

Flashback: A Jan. 29 memo showed Navarro said a pandemic scenario could take as many as half a million lives in the U.S. He did not contest the authenticity of the memos to CBS.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 22,000 people and infected over 555,000 in the United States, per Johns Hopkins data. Almost 33,000 Americans have recovered from the virus.

  • All but eight states have issued stay-at-home orders in response to the outbreak.

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