On Wednesday, Reps. John Katko and Anthony Brindisi urged President Donald Trump's administration to declare a disaster in New York that will free up federal intervention efforts.
New York has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country and will likely have a hospitalization rate that is projected to peak in 45 days. State officials estimate New York will need double the number of hospital beds it currently has and as many as 10 times the number of intensive care unit beds.
“Recorded cases will soon overwhelm public health resources, with the state’s intensive care unit beds currently at 80 percent capacity," the lawmakers wrote. "Although resources have been deployed within New York state to increase testing capabilities and increase the availability of telehealth services, the state’s ability to respond effectively is already facing significant strains as confirmed cases rise exponentially.”
The disaster declaration would enable more federal resources to come to New York, including support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
At the same time, the lawmakers noted the pandemic presents "an imminent and acute threat" to the state's economic security and will have severe long-term consequences.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday said a hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, will provide support for hospital capacity by mid-April and dock in the New York City harbor. He's also seeking support from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to expand hospital capacity.
The letter released Wednesday received bipartisan backing from Reps. Grace Meng, Paul Tonko, Brian Higgins, Kathleen Rice, Max Rose, Eliot Engel, Jerry Nadler, Tom Suozzi, Antonio Delgado, Elise Stefanik, Peter King, and Lee Zeldin.