Ousted U.S. vaccine chief Dr. Rick Bright testified on Thursday that "lives were lost" because the Trump administration failed to ramp up the production of personal protective equipment like N95 respirators.
During testimony before a House committee, the former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority said that he sounded the alarm about the need for protective equipment at the outset of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
"There were dozens of these alerts," Bright explained. "I pushed those forward to our leadership... I pushed those warnings to our critical infrastructure protection team. I pushed those warnings to our strategic national stockpile team who has the responsibility of procuring those medical supplies for our stockpile."
Bright said that he was repeatedly "met with indifference, saying they were either too busy or they didn't have a plan, they didn't know who was responsible for procuring those."
The ousted vaccine chief went on to claim that people had died because of the Trump administration's failure.
"Lives were endangered and I believe lives were lost," he lamented. "And not only that. We were forced to procure these supplies from other countries without the right quality standards. So even our doctors and nurses in the hospitals today are wearing N95 marked masks from other countries that are not providing the sufficient protection that a U.S. standard N95 mask would provide them."
Watch the video below from CNN.