In a Monday morning phone interview on Fox News, President Donald Trump voiced support for hazard pay for medical staff on the front lines of the fight against the coronavirus.

The president’s comments come less than 24 hours after he insinuated that medical workers in New York were stealing protective equipment.

In an emailed question to Fox and Friends, a nurse named Wendy asked the president if there were any plans for hazard pay for medical staff that are in direct contact with the virus.

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She also noted that she does not qualify for help from the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill.

Mr Trump said his administration is “looking at that” and examining ways of “doing it primarily through the hospitals.”

He described medical workers as “incredible”, ‘brave”, and “warriors.”

Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin later added his support for providing medical workers with hazard pay.

“I think I agree with the president, I think that makes a lot of sense,” Mr Mnuchin said.

“When we get to the next bill in Congress, that’s definitely something we will put in the next bill,” he added, referring to the next step in the stimulus response to the coronavirus.

The president’s praise for medical staff is in contrast to remarks made on Sunday. At a press briefing, in which questions were asked about the shortage of personal protective equipment in New York hospitals, Mr Trump said: “Where are the masks going? Are they going out the back door?”

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the president’s comments were “incredibly insensitive” and “insulting” to medical staff on the front lines of the city’s coronavirus response.

New York’s health care workers “deserve better than their President suggesting that PPE is ‘going out the back door’ of New York hospitals,” said Kenneth Raske, president of the Greater New York Hospital Association, in a statement. 

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There is no evidence of any looting of medical supplies, and hospitals have been warning staff for weeks not to take masks home with them. 

On Monday morning, New York state had more than 60,000 confirmed cases and more than 1,000 deaths.



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