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Infectious Diseases Experts Support Trump’s Use of Defense Production Act
Statement from the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America Urges Prioritization of Personal Protective Equipment Manufacturing in Exercising this Authority

ARLINGTON, Va. (March 20, 2020) – The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America strongly supports President Trump’s use of his authority under the Defense Production Act of 1950 to ensure healthcare workers have the personal protective equipment necessary to safely treat patients with COVID-19. Healthcare workers throughout the country have reported dire shortages of these critical supplies, putting patients and healthcare workers at risk as they lead the frontline response.

President Trump announced today that he would exercise his authority under the Defense Production Act, which enables the administration to require private businesses to prioritize government contracts and to manufacturer critical materials and goods to effectively respond to COVID-19.  This critical action is necessary for healthcare professionals to remain effective in their ability to prevent, detect and mitigate transmission of COVID-19.

While there are several critical shortages in the response to COVID-19, it is imperative that personal protective equipment is prioritized, as these materials directly impact the health of healthcare professionals treating patients and mitigating transmission. 

The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America represents healthcare epidemiologists and other infectious diseases professionals who are leading the development and implementation of evidence-based strategies to prevent, treat and control infectious diseases. These members, working in hospitals, long-term care, clinics, and public health settings, have reported dwindling supplies of personal protective equipment, including N95 respirators, facemasks, face shields, gloves, and goggles.

President Trump and Sec. Alex Azar must prioritize these vital resources to ensure the frontline healthcare workers are able to stay healthy and treat patients effectively over the course of the next several months.

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The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) is a professional society representing more than 2,000 physicians and other healthcare professionals around the world who possess expertise and passion for healthcare epidemiology, infection prevention, and antimicrobial stewardship. The society's work improves public health by establishing infection-prevention measures and supporting antibiotic stewardship among healthcare providers, hospitals, and health systems. This is accomplished by leading research studies, translating research into clinical practice, developing evidence-based policies, optimizing antibiotic stewardship, and advancing the field of healthcare epidemiology. SHEA and its members strive to improve patient outcomes and create a safer, healthier future for all. Visit SHEA online at www.shea-online.org, www.facebook.com/SHEApreventingHAIs and https://twitter.com/SHEA_Epi.