Mayor Duggan says cities around nation are in bidding war for COVID-19 supplies

Posted at 6:35 PM, Mar 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-23 18:35:36-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is using the knowledge he gained from his former role as the CEO of the Detroit Medical Center to prepare the city and state to fight COVID-19.

As he spoke to residents about changes he is making to stop the spread of the virus Monday, he had a stark warning. Right now the city and state are struggling to get all the supplies they will need. They are facing imminent shortages of masks, gowns, tests, and ventilators.

The mayor says right now cities and states are in bidding wars for supplies and if the federal government doesn’t take action, you might not have the supplies you need.

“I shouldn’t be trying to out-negotiate the Mayor of Chicago or the Mayor of Houston. There needs to be a federal response,” said Duggan.

7 Action News reached out to the White House for comment, but received no comment on the record.

White House Trade and Manufacturing Policy Director Peter Navarro addressed the struggle in some form during a press briefing Sunday, threatening potential federal action if there is price gouging. He said some suppliers are hoarding supplies, waiting for the price to increase.

“Message to the hoarders, if you have any large quantities that this country needs right now, get them to market. We will pay a fair price or we are going to come after you,” he said.

The City of Detroit is feeling the threat first hand. So far the mayor said fourteen city employees have tested positive for the virus, nine of them police officers.

While asking people to stay home unless they have an essential task, as ordered by Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Mayor Duggan said he is decreasing bus service.

Starting Wednesday the bus will run its typical Saturday service schedule six days a week. Plus the mayor announced a contractor will be fixing pipes in more than one hundred homes to help restore water where service had been shut off, so that people can have access to water for hygiene purposes.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Read our daily Coronavirus Live Blog for the latest updates and news on coronavirus.

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

Find out how you can help metro Detroit restaurants struggling during the pandemic.

See all of our Helping Each Other stories.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.