WATCH: CNN’s Sanjay Gupta hammers Trump official on coronavirus preparedness
CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta on Friday grilled Trump official Seema Verma about the administration’s sluggish response to the coronavirus pandemic and cornered her about the American health care system’s ability to cope with the crisis.
During a contentious interview, Gupta said that the government’s projections showed that even a moderate coronavirus pandemic in the United States could overwhelm the health care system, as hospitals simply lack the equipment to deal with the projected flood of patients.
“With a moderate pandemic, what this is looking like it is going to be, we don’t have enough equipment,” he said. “And, again, I know you’re dealing with many different things, but if you wait too long, there is going to be situations, as doctors were describing to me yesterday, where they’re not going to be able to care for patients who otherwise would have been able to get care.”
Verma, who serves as the administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and is also a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, tried to deflect from this by saying that the White House plan is to slow the spread of the disease so that the system does not get overwhelmed.
“I think we have ventilators in our stockpile, and we are prepared to work with the healthcare community to get them to the ventilators that they need,” she said. “I think at this point it is premature to say that we don’t have enough.”
Gupta, however, would not let her off the hook.
“Those are the federal government’s numbers!” he said. “Those are the projections from the federal government, which looks at moderate pandemic. We’re not make the numbers up! The numbers came from the government. And I’m just saying, if you want to prepare ahead, now would be the time, because this happens in hours and days, you no longer have days and weeks!”
Watch the video below.