Mayor asks for federal govenment’s help to bring in more medical supplies

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Hospitals throughout the city were taking precautions as people would come in with fever that might be coronavirus. Doctors and medical professionals at Maimonides Medical Center at the emergency room ready to triage. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

The city is two or three weeks away from exhausting its essential medical supplies that allow for hospitals to fully handle the novel coronavirus outbreak, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday.

The mayor called for federal government assistance, including allowing the military to supply the city with 3 million N95 masks, 50 million surgical masks, 15,000 ventilators and 25 million surgical gowns, coveralls and surgical masks by early April.

“If the federal government does not do all in its power immediately, there will be a lot more people who get sick who didn’t need to get sick, and a lot more people who die who didn’t need to die,” said de Blasio during a press conference call on March 19.

Earlier on Thursday, President Trump placed the responsibility of obtaining essential medical equipment needed to combat the growing number of novel coronavirus patients on governors. The day before, Trump announced that he would invoke the Defense Production Act which would allow his administration to force companies to manufacture medical supplies needed to fight the coronavirus outbreak as pressure mounts from states and congress. 

But Trump said that he would not actually sign the act, stating that it was only for a “worst-case scenario” and that the federal government was not a “shipping clerk.”

On Thursday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said that the state only has 5,000 to 6,000 ventilators and that the state would need 30,000 more in order to manage the pandemic. 

As of Thursday, there are 3,615 positive cases of the novel coronavirus in New York City, with 22 deaths. Of those numbers, 980 of those cases are in Queens, 976 in Manhattan, 1,030 in Brooklyn, 436 in the Bronx and 165 in Staten Island.

De Blasio called the president’s lack of action “immoral” and said that the military would welcome any opportunity to help. 

“When will President Trump give the order? That’s my question. When will he give the order? Why is he hesitating?” de Blasio asked. “People are suffering now, and they will be suffering so much more in April.”

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