Updated Mar 18, 2020 - Health

Pence asks hospitals to delay elective procedures amid coronavirus pressure

Vice President Pence said during a White House press conference Wednesday that hospitals should move to delay elective procedures, as the nation's medical system scrambles to deal with those sickened by the coronavirus.

Why it matters: His request comes as states have already reported inadequate supplies of protective gear for health care workers — and as the country faces a potential severe shortage of hospital beds as the outbreak worsens.

What he said:

"We are again today asking every American and our medical community leaders and hospitals to partner with us in delaying elective procedures across the country in our health care system to ensure that medical supplies and medical capacity go where they're needed most."

The big picture: U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams asked the same over the weekend.

  • Some hospitals already started canceling or postponing elective surgeries, MarketWatch writes.

President Trump announced new measures the administration is taking to combat the spread of the virus at the briefing:

  • He said he will invoke the Korean War-era Defense Production Act which will allow the government to sign contracts to boost the production of masks and other medical supplies.
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development is "suspending all foreclosures and evictions until the end of April."

Go deeper

The race to make more masks and ventilators

Fabric cutouts that will become masks are lined up at Xtreme Pro Apparel on March 23 in Broomfield, Colo. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post

The U.S. is scouring the globe and leaning on non-medical manufacturers to help overcome shortages of ventilators, masks, gloves and gowns.

Why it matters: Nearly 90% of U.S. mayors who responded to a national survey on coronavirus preparedness said they lack sufficient tests kits, face masks and other protective equipment for their emergency responders and medical workers, the Washington Post reports.

Go deeperArrowMar 28, 2020 - Health

Inside the start of the great virus airlift

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A plane from Shanghai arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York Sunday morning carrying an extraordinary load: 12 million gloves, 130,000 N95 masks, 1.7 million surgical masks, 50,000 gowns, 130,000 hand sanitizer units, and 36,000 thermometers.

Why it matters: The flight is the start of what might end up being the largest government-led airlift of emergency medical supplies into the United States.

Go deeperArrowMar 29, 2020 - Health