New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo admitted the state had a supply of unused ventilators after previously criticizing President Trump and the federal government for not providing additional ventilators to New York, the epicenter of the coronavirus in the U.S.
The story: “Thousand of Federal Government (delivered) Ventilators found in New York storage. N.Y. must distribute NOW!” President Trump tweeted on Friday.
Thousand of Federal Government (delivered) Ventilators found in New York storage. N.Y. must distribute NOW!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 27, 2020
Cuomo admitted there is a stockpile but said the president was “grossly uninformed” about the supply, arguing the city is saving the ventilators for when the crisis reaches its peak.
“Of course we didn’t — that’s the whole point,” Cuomo said. “The hospitals don’t need them yet. The hospitals aren’t at their apex. The hospitals have enough ventilators today, but their numbers are going up.”
“Yes, they’re in a stockpile because that’s where they are supposed to be because we don’t need them yet,” Cuomo said. “We need them for the apex, the apex isn’t here, so we’re gathering them in a stockpile.”
“We don’t need them today, because we’re not at capacity today, that’s why they’re not deployed because they’re not needed,” he added. “So the point is, ‘well they’re in a stockpile, you must not need them’ is just ignorant — of course you don’t need them today! You need them when you hit the apex, which is 30,000. We’re not there yet.”
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Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday that the federal government had already sent 2,000 ventilators to New York and will send as much on Wednesday.
“I just received word, and the challenge the state of New York faces. Earlier today, FEMA [the Federal Emergency Management Agency], from the national stockpile, shipped 2,000 ventilators to the state of New York,” Pence said Tuesday.
“Tomorrow, there will be another 2,000 ventilators shipped from the national stockpile,” Pence said. “We have a ways to go yet, it’s the reason why we’re marshaling all the resources, not just from national stockpiles but from our existing supply in hospitals, and that equipment can be converted.”
However, Cuomo and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio have insisted that the state would likely need between 30 and 40,000 additional ventilators and 140,000 beds to deal with the crisis.
In an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Thursday, Trump suggested those numbers appear unrealistic.
“I have a feeling that a lot of the numbers that are being said in some areas are just bigger than they’re going to be,” Trump told Hannity, per The Hill.
“I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You know, you go into major hospitals, sometimes they’ll have two ventilators. And now all of a sudden they’re saying, ‘Can we order 30,000 ventilators?’”
New York City has confirmed over 25,000 cases of the virus and 365 deaths, with over 44,600 cases and 500 deaths statewide.