‘You can’t pass the buck without passing the bucks,’ Cuomo tells feds

FILE PHOTO: New York governor Andrew Cuomo speaks as the USNS Comfort pulls into a berth in Manhattan during the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in the Manhattan borough of New York City
FILE PHOTO: New York governor Andrew Cuomo speaks as the USNS Comfort pulls into a berth in Manhattan during the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., March 30, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

While New York is seeing the curve flatten, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday there’s still much more work to be done before reopening the economy.

Total hospitalizations in New York are continuing to decline, with 17,316 compared on April 16, down from 17,735 on April 15. The number of ICU patients has also declined by 32 patients over those two days.

Despite these improvements, New York is still seeing nearly 2,000 new hospital COVID-19 cases a day. On April 16, New York also lost 630 patients to coronavirus. However, Cuomo is still proud of the work that has been done in New York so far to flatten the curve.

“I was afraid that this thing was uncontrollable and that despite everything we did, it would make the numbers continue to go through the roof,” said Cuomo. “But we proved we could control the beast.”

As for when New York could be taken off of “PAUSE,” Cuomo reported that New York may still be in the first phase of combating the crisis by continuing to reduce the spread of the disease, but the state is starting to shift into the second phase, which would involve reopening the economy.

“The situation we are in now is unsustainable. People can’t stay in their homes for this length of time, they can’t be out of work,” said Cuomo. “You can’t keep the economy closed forever, you just can’t. Society can’t handle it.”

Cuomo again told the federal government that if the economy is to get generating revenue once again, the testing capacity would need to be in place in the interim for a treatment.

But it was not only the federal government as a whole the governor was digging at.

The feud between him and President Donald Trump was refueled from a reporter’s question asking Cuomo to respond to comments made previously by the commander-in-chief.

“You can’t pass the buck without passing the bucks,” Cuomo said, quoting fictional character P.J. Parkinson as his father was prone to do, before turning to the matter of the president.

“Let’s address the president,” the governor added. “If he’s at home watching TV, maybe he should get up and get to work.”

Prior to this question during his daily press briefing on COVID-19 in Albany Friday, Trump took to Twitter to tell states to step up their testing capacity and attacked Cuomo’s contagion containment effort.

Trump additionally went after the Cuomo administration’s drive for hospital beds and ventilators based on early projections that demanded over doubling the hospital capacity in New York.

“Governor Cuomo should spend more time ‘doing’ and less time ‘complaining.’ Get out there and get the job done. Stop talking! We built you thousands of hospital beds that you didn’t need or use, gave large numbers of Ventilators that you should have had, and helped you with testing that you should be doing,” Trump said. “We have given New York far more money, help and equipment than any other state, by far, & these great men & women who did the job never hear you say thanks. Your numbers are not good. Less talk and more action!”

New York secured most of its ventilators through private purchase and donations from nations such as China. The federal government provided 2,000 ventilators to New York state in March, and promised another 2,000 to come — days after Trump downplayed the need for ventilators in New York. In recent days, with the curve flattening, New York has started distributing unneeded ventilators to other states such as Michigan and New Jersey.

Additional reporting by Emily Davenport and Robert Pozarycki