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Coronavirus In Ohio: Sherrod Brown Urges Trump To Take More Drastic Action

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, speaks at a Culinary Union hall Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019, in Las Vegas.
John Locher
Associated Press
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, speaks at a Culinary Union hall Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019, in Las Vegas.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is pushing the Trump administration to mobilize domestic manufacturers towards COVID-19 efforts.

Congress may have reached a deal for $2 trillion in coronavirus relief efforts, but Brown believes the executive branch needs to do more. He’s urging the president to commandeer factories under the Defense Production Act to meet a looming shortfall in resources like PPE, or personal protective equipment.

“Equipment like N95 masks, gloves, gowns, other critical medical equipment like respirators,” Brown explained during a press call Wednesday. “We know that keeping up with demand for this equipment is going to make a huge difference in how our hospitals are able to respond to the crisis.”

During Wednesday's coronavirus briefing, Gov. Mike DeWine noted Ohio has received its share from the Strategic National Stockpile, but said that those supplies are not enough. In addition to making a plea for other organizations to continue sharing, DeWine explained that diminished stock prompted his administration's move to suspend elective surgeries.

Brown argues companies are ready and willing to help, but they funding to re-tool their factories, direction on what to make and assurances that someone will buy it. The Trump administration has thus far been unwilling to take such drastic action.

Brown highlighted a recent letter he sent to the president outlining a number of steps he believes administration should take. 

“First, the administration must quickly distribute any military stockpiles of PPE medical devices and health care supplies," Brown says. "No health care worker should have to ration masks or gowns while the protection she needs sits in government storage.”

Among other proposals, Brown recommends a designated official managing distribution and establishing a hotline for organizations in need.

Nick Evans was a reporter at WOSU's 89.7 NPR News. He spent four years in Tallahassee, Florida covering state government before joining the team at WOSU.