The governor of Illinois compared the federal government’s response to COVID-19 to the “Hunger Games” on Wednesday, saying the competition between states for vital supplies contributed to unnecessary deaths.
“A global pandemic requires a national response, but that’s not what happened,” Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker testified before the House Homeland Security Committee.
Instead, he said, the Trump administration failed to deliver on promises of testing supplies and personal protective equipment, and did not invoke the Defense Production Act broadly or soon enough.
“We were in a bidding war for life-saving supplies against each other, and against our international allies,” Pritzker said. “In the midst of a global pandemic, states were forced to play some sort of sick, ‘Hunger Games’ game show to save the lives of our people. Let me be clear, this is not a reality TV show.”
“There was no national plan to acquire PPE or testing supplies, and as a result, people died,” the governor added.
Pritzker concluded with a list of priorities for the administration, including a national testing and contact-tracing strategy, funding for localities that have lost revenue during the pandemic, “clarity on insurance coverage for COVID-19 testing” and funding for the National Guard as it prepares for a potential second wave.
Perhaps the most important thing, the governor said, was a national mask mandate.
“It’s not too late for the federal government to make an impact,” he said. “In fact, it’s more important than ever.”