Governor Andrew Cuomo gave “discouraging” news during Tuesday update to his COVID-19 response telling the public the apex of the curve will be higher than expected as cases double a staggering every three days.
By previous estimates, Cuomo’s administration was pushing for an expansion of statewide hospital beds from 53,000 to 110,000, but now the governor says 140,000 hospital beds will necessary alongside 40,000 ICU beds within 14 to 21 days.
“The apex is higher than we thought and the apex is sooner than we thought, and that is a bad combination of facts,” Cuomo said. “I will turn this state upside down to get the number of beds we need.”
There are 25,662 cases now, 4,700 new ones, and Cuomo said this is why the federal government needs to step in as the state is the “canary in the coal mine.” Anything that happens in New York, according to Cuomo, will happen in another state.
But the state is also looking beyond directives from Washington D.C. for solutions.
At a minimum, Cuomo says 30,000 ventilators are a “critical and desperate need.” He also said the state will experiment with splitting a ventilator between two patients as well as transferring plasma from an individual with antibodies to fight COVID-19 to another patient who is struggling.
A suggestion from Cuomo to the federal government was to focus the federal resources of at least 20,000 ventilators to New York, the highest concentration of cases in the nation. After the apex passes in New York, Cuomo said he would help transport the equipment to another state as they experience an apex.
“As soon as we finish with the ventilators, then you move them to the next part of the country that has a critical problem. And then after that region hits its apex, then you move to the next part of the country that has its critical problems,” Cuomo said. “I will take personal responsibility for transporting the 20,000 ventilators anywhere in this country that they want in this country once we are past our apex, but don’t leave them sitting in the stockpile and say we’re going to wait to see how we allocate them across the country.”
Cuomo scoffed at FEMA for sending New York 400 ventilators which were received by the New York City Office of Emergency Management earlier on Tuesday.
Tuesday’s briefing was held in the Javits Center which has been converted into a makeshift medical facility in the last two days. Commissioner of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Patrick Murphy said there are two phases to the rollout of medical care provided at Javits.
“The basic number is 1,000 and 1,000, and we’re working towards being above that number by the time we’re done dressing it out,” Murphy said explaining they are aiming for over 2,000 beds.
When asked why the economy has come to halt for sake of the 1-2% of the population who are vulnerable, the elderly and those with certain preexisting conditions, Cuomo said he is not willing to sacrifice those individuals.