US in good shape to meet virus ‘peak’ – Trump

Donald Trump has said the US will be in “very good shape” in terms of the number of ventilators by the time the coronavirus outbreak peaks.

The US president said there were now at least 10 companies making the ventilators – key equipment to treat critically ill patients.

He said more than a million Americans had been tested for the virus – more than in any other country.

The US has more than 16,000 confirmed virus cases and nearly 3,000 deaths.

New York City is the worst-hit place in America, with nearly 800 confirmed fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The US last week became the country with the most reported cases, ahead of Italy and China.

What did Trump say?

Speaking at Monday’s briefing at the White House, President Trump said: “We reached a historic milestone in our war against the coronavirus. Over one million Americans have now been tested, more than any other country by far. Not even close.”

Asked why the US remained behind countries like South Korea in terms of the testing rate per capita, Mr Trump said he should be congratulated on his administration’s progress.

But the president also warned that “challenging times are ahead for the next 30 days”.

“We’re sort of putting it all on the line, this 30 days, so important, because we have to get back.”

Mr Trump said social distancing could save more than a million American lives.

“We will have a great victory,” he said.

What’s the situation in the US?

Nationwide measures mean citizens must continue to avoid non-essential travel, going to work, and eating at restaurants or bars. Gatherings are limited to groups of under 10 people.

But stricter restrictions apply to millions in some of the worst-hit states.

On Saturday residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were advised not to travel elsewhere within the country for 14 days.

Non-essential gatherings in New York City are banned and most businesses are closed as the city faces more than 33,000 cases. Police can issue fines of $250-500 (£200-£400).

In California, a “shelter in place” order remains.

What about the shortage of equipment?

Earlier on Sunday, Mr Trump accused hospitals in some states of “hoarding” ventilators, face masks and other critical medical supplies.

“We do have a problem with hoarding… including ventilators. Hospitals need to release them – in some cases they have too many, they have to release medical supplies and equipment,” he said.

Hospitals “can’t hold [ventilators] if they think there might be a problem weeks down the road”, he said, alleging that some were “stocked up”.

The availability of ventilators is a major concern among health professionals as demand has surged. A number of states have warned that they will soon not have enough to treat patients suffering from Covid-19.

The virus can cause severe respiratory issues as it attacks the lungs, and ventilators help to keep patients breathing.

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