Testifying at a virtual congressional hearing about the US response to the pandemic on Wednesday, the governor said that there should have been a coherent national strategy to tackle the outbreak.
He said the pandemic required a “national response,” but “that’s not what happened”, and added that “the federal government wasn’t leading. We were,” according to Business Insider.
Mr Pritzker criticised the White House’s decision for individual states to source their own PPE, instead of giving them the amount they needed from a national stockpile.
He added that this decision made PPE more expensive, as states had to outbid each other to get the equipment they needed.
“A choice between bad and worse was muddled further by the White House’s broken promises on testing supplies and PPE deliveries,” the governor said.
“We were in a bidding war for life-saving supplies against each other and against our international allies. We’re paying $5 for masks that should have cost 85 cents.”
Mr Pritzker added: “In the midst of a global pandemic states were forced to play some sort of sick Hunger Games game show to save the lives of our people.
“Let me be clear, this is not a reality TV show. There are real things that are happening in the United States.”
In April, when there was a shortage of PPE all across the country, officials from numerous states complained about losing ordered supplies after they were outbid by other areas in the US and abroad.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo said that the state had to turn to outside suppliers for their equipment, which mirrored the experience of officials in numerous areas, including New Jersey and Michigan.
Speaking at a press conference, Ms Breed added that some protective items were being diverted before they even reached the US.
“We’ve had issues of our orders being relocated by our suppliers in China,” she said. “For example, we had isolation gowns on their way to San Francisco and they were diverted to France.”
Ms Breed added that in some cases, protective equipment was taken away from the city after it went through US customs.
“We’ve had situations when things we’ve ordered that have gone through Customs were confiscated by FEMA to be diverted to other locations,” she said.
“Through Customs, we’ve had situations where those items have been taken and put out on the market for the highest bidder, putting cities against cities and states against states.”
Mr Pritzker reiterated that the US needs to mandate masks nationally if a crisis happens again, and added that the government need to get supplies ready in case a new pandemic emerges.
“If the government has one job, it’s to respond to a life-threatening emergency,” he said. “But when the same emergency is crashing down on every state at once, that’s a national emergency, and it requires a national response.”
According to a tracking project hosted by Johns Hopkins University, there are now more than 3 million people who have tested positive for coronavirus in the US. The death toll has reached at least 132,723.