Mar 24, 2020 - Health

Cuomo pleads with federal government to supply New York with ventilators

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called on the federal government on Tuesday to supply ventilators, saying the state is in dire need of tens of thousands of machines to manage the coronavirus outbreak. The state expects to receive about 4,000 ventilators per Vice President Mike Pence.

Why it matters: New York state has become the U.S. epicenter of the pandemic, with 25,665 cases, and Cuomo said time is running out to wait on domestic production of medical supplies.

Cuomo said there are two methods to obtain the ventilators, recommending the U.S. government either use the federal Defense Production Act or that Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar tap into the federal stockpile to provide 20,000 machines.

"I understand the federal government's point that many companies have come forward and said we want to help, and General Motors and Ford and people are willing to get into the ventilator business. It does us no good if they start to create a ventilator in three weeks or four weeks or five weeks. We're looking at an apex of 14 days. ... The [Defense Production Act] can actually help companies because the federal government can say, 'Look, I need you to go into this business. I will contract with you today for x number of ventilators. Here's the startup capital you need.' ... Not to exercise that power is inexplicable to me."

What's happening: The state has 7,000 ventilators and needs 30,000. New York already mandated nonessential businesses close and ordered residents to stay home.

  • “I will take personal responsibility for transporting the ventilators” elsewhere in the country after New York reaches its apex, Cuomo said. “I’ll send ventilators, I’ll send health care workers, our professionals.”

Editor's note: This story was updated wit Vice President Pence's statement that New York will receive 4,000 ventilators in the next two days.

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World coronavirus updates: Fewer deaths in Italy and Spain, U.K. toll jumps

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Why it matters: U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Sunday this upcoming week will be "the hardest and saddest week of most Americans' lives" — calling it our "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment."

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