Trump Questions New York Hospital Rise in Number of Masks Requested: 'Is It Going Out the Back Door?'

During Monday's coronavirus task force briefing from the White House, President Donald Trump defended allegations he made Sunday a hospital in New York had ordered 300,000 masks during the coronavirus pandemic in the state because the masks were could be "going out the back door."

Trump said on Sunday that "somebody should probably look into" how the hospital had gone from ordering to 10,000 masks to 300,000.

"I just don't see from a practical standpoint how that's possible to go from that to that," Trump said.

On Monday Trump reiterated his assertions, saying he had asked the city to investigate the claims.

"I expressed what was told to me by a tremendous power in the business," Trump said, "that a New York hospital for a long period of time, he was giving 10,000, maybe maximum 20,000 masks over a short time and all of a sudden he was giving over 300,000. And I said, 'No matter how bad this is, could that be possible?' He said no, and there's only a couple of things that could happen."

"Is it going out the back door?" Trump continued. "And I've reported it to the city and let the city take a look at it. But when you go from 10,000 masks to 300,000 masks over the same period of time, there's something going on."

Newsweek reached out to the New York City Health Department for comment.

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President Donald Trump speaks during the daily coronavirus briefing at the Rose Garden of the White House on Monday in Washington, DC. Win McNamee/Getty

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday that Trump's statements were "insulting."

"It's outrageous," de Blasio continued. "It's incredibly insensitive right now to the people giving it their all."

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday that he wasn't sure what Trump was "trying to say."

"In terms of the suggestion that PPE [personal protective equipment] is not going to a correct place, I don't know what that means," Cuomo said. "I don't know what he's trying to say. If he wants to make an accusation, let him make an accusation."

Cuomo told reporters Monday that 1,218 individuals had died in New York as a result of the virus.

"If you wait to prepare for a storm to hit, it is too late," Cuomo said. "You have to prepare before the storm hits. And in this case the storm is when you hit that high point, when you hit that apex. How do you know when you're going to get there? You don't."

In response to the continuing spread of the coronavirus, the White House has bumped its previously stated deadline for social distancing to the end of April. Trump had previously said he had hoped to get U.S. businesses back open by Easter.

"Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won," Trump said Sunday night. "The better you do, the faster this whole nightmare will end."

Recent data indicated over 162,000 cases of coronavirus in the U.S. making it the country with the highest number of positive confirmed cases in the world.