New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) earlier in the week was complaining loudly that the federal government wasn’t providing his state with enough ventilators for critically-ill coronavirus patients.
However, Cuomo just admitted on Friday that his state already has a stockpile of unused ventilators, Breitbart reported.
Stockpile of ventilators
It was announced mid-week that thousands of new ventilators were being delivered to New York by the federal government, but Cuomo said that he needs at least 30,000 or 40,000 more ventilators.
President Trump seemed to disagree, however, and aside from mentioning the fact that Cuomo himself had ignored an opportunity a few years earlier to increase the state’s supply of ventilators in case of an emergency — like a massive public health crisis, expressed doubts about Cuomo’s estimates.
“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,” the president said Thursday night on Fox News.
Then, on Friday, Trump announced via tweet that New York was stockpiling unused ventilators. Apparently, they aren’t needed quite yet…
Thousand of Federal Government (delivered) Ventilators found in New York storage. N.Y. must distribute NOW!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 27, 2020
Cuomo: “We don’t need them today”
When asked for a response to Trump’s tweet, Cuomo replied, “Yes, they’re in a stockpile because that’s where they are supposed to be, because we don’t need them yet.” He continued, “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,” the governor added.
New York has been particularly hard hit by the coronavirus outbreak, particularly New York City, but, as Cuomo himself admitted, hospitals have not yet reached capacity and there are thousands of ventilators already waiting to be deployed.
Private sector joins production effort
And more are on the way. On Friday, President Trump exercised the Defence Production Act, ordering GM to produce 100,000 ventilators. GM is teaming up with Ventec, a medical equipment manufacturer, to produce ventilators and said earlier on Friday that it expects to start delivering the equipment as early as next month.
Other companies are stepping up to fill the need as well. Ford and Tesla have offered to produce ventilators, masks, and other needed medical equipment and supplies, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk is donating over 1,000 ventilators purchased from U.S.-approved Chinese suppliers. Tech giants Apple and Facebook have both donated thousands of masks and other protective gear.
Meanwhile, others are working on developing drugs to fight the coronavirus. The U.K. Daily Mail reported Friday that two New York patients improved enough to be taken off ventilators after they were treated with leronlimab, an experimental drug used to treat HIV and cancer.