New York Governor Andrew Cuomo pleaded with the federal government to provide more help in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, as new projections show the state’s hospital needs will be far higher than initially estimated.
“We haven’t flattened the curve,” Cuomo said at a press briefing at the Javits Convention Center in New York on Tuesday morning. “The curve is increasing.”
The state now has more than 25,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, the most in the country. More than 3,000 people have been hospitalized, and nearly a quarter of those cases have required stays in intensive care units, along with increasingly precious ventilators.
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New York will now need as many as 140,000 hospital beds, up from the initial high-end estimate of 110,000 beds from earlier this month. Even if hospitals doubled their capacity in the coming days, it would not be enough to handle the expected influx of coronavirus patients.
As many as 30,000 ventilators will be needed; the state has 7,000 of the units, which will be experimentally split between two patients.
The need for ventilators, Cuomo said, is “critical and desperate” which the state can’t meet on its own.
The “apex” of the virus for New York is expected to come in 14 to 21 days, when the state’s public health system could be overwhelmed.
Cuomo, addressing the country, called New York “the canary in the coal mine.”
“We are just a test case,” Cuomo said. “That’s how the nation should look at it today.”
He again urged President Donald Trump to invoke the Defense Production Act and have companies manufacture the production of medical supplies.
“It is a war,” Cuomo said. “Act like it’s a war.”
This week, state and federal emergency officials are building temporary hospitals at the Javits Center, as well as the Westchester County Center in White Plans and SUNY campuses on Long Island.
A hospital ship is set to dock in the New York City harbor to help manage the overflow of patients.
Cuomo has moved in the last several weeks to reduce large-scale gatherings in the state and ordered non-essential workers to stay at home to prevent spread of the virus.
Cuomo sought to temper Trump’s push to re-open parts of the country that have closed down as a result of the pandemic, arguing a more moderate path is necessary that allows healthier people to return to work, while also protecting people who are vulnerable to the virus.
“We can do both,” Cuomo said. “And we must do both.”