Sanitation operations on an ambulance for the transport of COVID-19 patients are being carried out in Settimo Torinese, Northern Italy, Monday, March 23, 2020. (Photo: AP)
The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 375,000 people and killed over 16,000. The COVID-19 illness causes mild or moderate symptoms in most people, but severe symptoms are more likely in the elderly or those with existing health problems. More than 100,000 people have recovered so far, mostly in China.
President Donald Trump has signed an executive order making it a crime to excessively stockpile personal protective equipment that is needed by medical personnel fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
Attorney General William Barr says the Justice Department has already launched investigations into people who are hoarding supplies and price gouging. He says investigators will go after people who are “hoarding these goods on an industrial scale for the purpose of manipulating the market.”
The executive order allows the president to designate some items as “scarce.”
Barr says, “If you are sitting on a warehouse with surgical masks, you will be hearing a knock on your door.”
No specific items have been identified yet and the Justice Department will work with Health and Human Services to enforce the president’s order.