NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) -- As the coronavirus spreads, so do concerns about medical equipment.

Hospitals around the country are concerned about shortages of equipment and protective gear.

Doctors say they have enough equipment for now, but they would likely face a shortage if cases surge. That's why they want the federal government to step in and do something.

“It's something that we're talking about every day in a way that in my five years as a physician, I never heard this conversation happen,” said Dr. Hannah Rosenblum, chief resident at Yale University’s Primary Care Medicine Program

“It’s time to federalize the national critical supply chain,” said U.S. Senator Chris Murphy.

President Donald Trump has resisted calls to use his authority under the Defense Production Act to force manufacturers to make medical supplies. Trump is worried about temporarily nationalizing companies.

However, doctors in Connecticut say it's time.

“From my position as a chief in this program and as a physician, I don't see why -- if not now, when,” Rosenblum said.

“I think it's not just masks we're talking about, it's also respirators and ventilators,” said Dr. John Rodis, president of St. Francis Hospital.

He said he has enough personal protective equipment, or PPE, as long as it’s used properly.

“The only time you really have to wear one is when you're specifically taking care of a known COVID-19 positive patient, and you're a procedure like intubation where you're going to be very close to them,” Rodis said.

He said he’s worried about a surge of COVID-19 cases, and he’s not alone.

“We're all facing the similar problem, and so it's pretty clear that we need a national effort to fix this urgently,” Rosenblum said.

There's also concerns about suppliers hoarding and price gouging.

Murphy said he has co-sponsored a bill that would force Trump to take action.

“The problem is that the private sector supply chain is broken down, it has just simply broken down, it is a ‘Lord of the Flies’ scenario today,” Murphy said.

Copyright 2020 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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