Has the PPE situation in the United States improved?
That was a question I had last Saturday (12/09/2020). Below is the answers I obtained from searching the Internet.
tldr: The PPE shortages in the US has gotten worse in August compared to July..
Why is this question important?
As you might be aware, the Trump Administration stripped the CDC of its control over Coronavirus Data on July 14, 2020. Prior to this date it was the CDC that informed the public of the status of the covid19 pandemic within the US. Now US hospitals sends their daily Covid19 reports directly to the White House and it is the WH that gives out the Covid19 numbers..
Why is this a problem? To put it bluntly, it is conflict of interest.
The CDC is an unbiased entity with regards to the health of United States of America and her citizens. It is in its interest to inform the American public of threats to the public health. In contrast, the White House is a political entity under the control of the sitting US President, in this Donald Trump, a president who will soon be facing re-election in the coming month of November. Hence Trump's White House has a vested interest to promote a more "optimistic spin" on the Covid19 pandemic ravaging the US.
Actually, ‘optimistic spin’ is an euphemism.
President Donald Trump lies. He lies a lot.
Of all the sins that can be committed in Science, this is the most unforgivable. A man who lies frequently, will continue to do so especially when it benefits him. Dishonesty stains everything he does, making one suspicious of his work.
Below is the daily new cases of Covid19 in the United States https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/
We should note that within days of the White House taking control from the CDC, the number of new covid19 cases in the US plateaued (July 17, 2020) and within a week it started to fall. It felt like 10,000 new cases per day had been immediately removed. By September 13, Covid19 cases in the US had fallen from a peak of 78,000 new cases per day to an average of 31,000 new cases per day. This is a decline of over 50%, within 2 months and is a surprising achievement given that the US has had multiple large politically rallies with many attendees not wearing masks. FurthermoreUS has reopened schools and universities, resulting in many outbreaks of Covid19 within these institutions as student were unable or unwilling to practice social distancing and wear masks.
All together, it cast doubt on the validity of the Covid19 numbers that the WH has been reporting. However mere suspicion is not enough. Perhaps Trump actually is doing a great job (somehow). I thus attempted to look for other ways to corroborate the dramatic reduction in Covid19 cases within the US.
My answer: PPE supply
My answer was to look at the PPE shortage situation in the US, which has existed since the Covid19 pandemic began in April. If the number of new Covid19 cases within the US had truly decreased, the availability of PPE should improve. However if the WH is lying and the Covid19 pandemic is actually getting worse, US healthcare institutions should be experiencing worsening shortages of PPE.
The data below were obtained from https://getusppe.org/data/. It is a website of an organization that receives request for PPE from hospitals and non-hospital institutions (ie dental clinics, nursing homes, homeless shelters) and collects donations of PPE which it then redistributes around the US.
The pie charts above showed that between the months of May and June, the PPE shortage did decrease and this is inline with the decrease in Covid19 number that fell from 29,000 new cases per day in early May to 22,000 new cases per day by mid June. Next the pie chart showed that the PPE shortage became worst in the month of July. Again this matched what happened with Covid19 situation as the virus exploded in July, shoting up from 21,000 new cases per day mid June to 68,000 new cases per day by the end of July.
Now... in August, the pie chart showed that the PPE shortage had become even worse, surpassing even May.. But the Covid19 numbers, now reported by Trump's White House shows a dramatic decrease in cases, a fall of 50%. The two data sets no longer match.
In other words, although the numbers reported by Trump's WH paints a picture of a pandemic that is being brought under control, institutions around the US are begging for PPE.hinting at a worsing Covid19 pandemic.
The Covid19 pandemic situation in the US is getting worse. Organization relying on donations of PPE are in more dire straits in August, then they were in May, near the start of the Covid19 outbreak within the US. This is in stark contrast to the dramatic decrease in new Covid19 case being reported by Trump's White House.
This under reporting of the true expend of the Covid19 pandemic should not come as surprise. The Trump administration has gone so far as to direct the CDC to change its guideline to hospitals on who is tested for Covid19. Now only those visibly ill are tested for Covid19. And given 25-80% of the population are asymptomatic or only mildly ill when infected by Covid19… the US has wilfully blinded itself to the severity of the pandemic it has on its hands.
In short we cannot trust the numbers coming from the WH.