A new analysis has found that the U.S. sent China $18-million in face masks and protective gear in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan earlier this year. Internal government documents reveal that the U.S. Commerce Department urged U.S. manufacturers to make the exports between the months of January and February, even when the deadly virus was already beginning to spread across the U.S.

On Jan. 20, the U.S. confirmed its first positive case of COVID-19. Around that time, the U.S. was shipping out tons of face masks and protective gear to China, where COVID-19-related deaths had already topped 2,700.

Based on the report, the amount of masks and protective items exported from the U.S. between January and February this year skyrocketed by 1,000 percent, from $1.4 million during the same months of 2019 to about $17.6 million this year. Exports of ventilators also spiked by triple digits during the period.

The report also reveals that in February, the U.S. Department of Commerce issued a flier outlining a “CS China COVID Procurement Service.” An official at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing confirmed this on March 3, when he reportedly told his colleagues about the “new service” they had received from the U.S. as the outbreak was starting to spread globally.

On Sunday, a senior official from the U.S. Department of Commerce said they were already probing into the matter. According to the official, the senior leadership at the International Trade Administration (ITA) immediately cut the “service” on March 4, just shortly after the Department’s issuance of the flier.  

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started to spread to the U.S., the ITA has been working hard to help the industry overcome supply chain disruptors by working with other organizations in the disbursement of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies across the country. With the constant rise of COVID-19 in the country, however, the U.S. is now struggling to address its shortage in face mask and PPE supplies.

On Twitter, Rep. Lloyd Doggett, one of the early recipients of the flier, accused Trump of ramping up exports of vital resources to China at a time when U.S. officials were being warned of the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If you’re wondering why the U.S. is # 1 in coronavirus deaths and not in masks, patient protective equipment and ventilators, look no further than Trump’s denial, delay and deception,” he wrote. “Not exactly putting America first,” he added.

On Sunday, the coronavirus deaths in the U.S. rose by almost 2,000, the highest of any country in the world.  

Coronavirus COVID-19 New York, USA A worker uses a forklift to move a body outside of the Brooklyn Hospital on March 31, 2020 in New York, United States. Due to a surge in deaths caused by the Coronavirus, hospitals are using refrigerator trucks as make shift morgues. Stephanie Keith/Getty Images