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Kelly calls U.S. officials unprepared for COVID-19

Gov. Laura Kelly strongly criticized the U.S. government Thursday as unprepared for the coronavirus pandemic and said her state hasn’t gotten needed supplies despite multiple requests approved since mid-March.

The governor said Kansas has sought “hundreds of thousands of everything,” including masks, gloves, gowns and testing kits, to deal with the outbreak of the virus that causes COVID-19.  The state also has been overwhelmed by questions and claims from jobless workers seeking unemployment benefits.

Kelly expressed her frustrations with President Donald Trump’s administration
as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose nearly 15% in a single day, to 552, with 13 deaths since early March.

Asked about requested supplies, Kelly said, “The shipments have just not come
in,” and that she and other governors “haven’t really gotten a good answer” as
to why. Her remarks were her most pointed to date, coming after her stay-at-home
order took effect Monday in a GOP-leaning state that Trump carried by nearly 21
percentage points in 2016.

“They didn’t have the stockpiles on hand to meet the demand when the demands
came, and then, quite honestly, whatever system they have for delivery isn’t
working,” Kelly said during a daily briefing. “I think, honestly, they just were
not prepared.”

Trump said Wednesday that his administration was waging “all-out war to defeat
the virus” and is backing up governors.  “And there’s never been a backup like we’ve given them,” he said.

But Kelly painted a far different picture, saying the U.S. government “just
didn’t take seriously enough soon enough, and I think we’re all paying the price for that now,” Kelly said.

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