A visit by a mask-less US President Donald Trump to a COVID-19 swab-making factory in Maine has forced the disposal of a number of swabs manufactured during his tour of the factory.
An image of Trump pretending to insert a swab into his nose during his visit on Friday went viral on social media.
US Already Facing Shortage of Swabs for Testing COVID-19
In the wake of Trump's scheduled visit to the production facility, the Guilford-based Puritan Medical Products was already running to limited production capacity.
Speaking to USA Today, company marketing manager Virginia Templet said: "The running of the factory machines is very limited today and will only occur when the president is touring the facility floor. Swabs produced during that time will be discarded."
However, the company officials neither disclosed the reasons for discarding the swabs nor the quantity being disposed. Public health officials in Maine and other states have complained that shortage of swabs has hampered their ability to massively scale up coronavirus testing.
During the visit to the factory, Trump walked through the facility and spoke to the workers. He said: "Made in the USA. I've been saying it for a long time."
Under the Korean War-era Defense Production Act activated by the Trump administration, Puritan received millions of dollars from the federal government to double production. It is one of only two companies that make the kind of swabs needed in coronavirus testing.
Twitter Slams Mask-less Trump For Photo-Op at Factory
Despite health authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control, stressing on the need to wear a face mask in public, Trump has never been seen wearing one during his appearances.
Twitter was ablaze with the news of swabs being thrown out following Trump's visit to the factory. "Daddy Trump made a visit to a COVID nasal swab plant the other day & didn't bother to wear a mask. They had to throw out the entire day's production. Didn't seem to bother him at all. The Trump family doesn't know or care about the discomfort & uncertainty they impose on others," wrote a user.
"I despise @realDonaldTrump more each day. There is a shortage of nasal swabs all over the country. He has a swab pep rally while the rest of us are screwed," said another user.
"If Trump shoved that swab up his drug-altered nasal passages, he would probably give himself a prefrontal lobotomy. I am so offended by this. I had to wait a month to get tested for #COVID19 due to a shortage of test kits. After Positive, had to wait again to be cleared," tweeted another.