“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,” he said. “I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You go into major hospitals sometimes, and they’ll have two ventilators. And now all of a sudden they’re saying, ‘Can we order 30,000 ventilators?’”
New York has become the new epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, with hospitals struggling to keep up with larger patient numbers and limited supplies, including masks, gowns and ventilators. In severe cases of Covid-19, the illness caused by coronavirus, ventilators can allow patients to breathe with incapacitated lungs — a common outcome of the disease.
Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said earlier on Thursday she was told that New York had enough ventilators to meet current needs. While there may be shortages in urban areas like New York City, Birx said, there are other parts of the state “that have lots of ventilators and other parts of New York state that don‘t have any infections right now.“
“There is still significant — over a thousand or two thousand ventilators that have not been utilized yet,” Birx said. “Please, for the reassurance of people around the world, to wake up this morning and look at people talking about creating DNR situations — do not resuscitate situations for patients — there is no situation in the United States right now that warrants that kind of discussion.“
But Cuomo said on Tuesday that the state would need an additional 30,000 ventilators to be able to respond to the peak of the crisis, which is predicted to hit the state in about two weeks. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has sent only 400, Cuomo said. (The Trump administration later said it would send 4,000 from the federal stockpile.)
Cuomo’s patience with the federal government grew visibly thin during a Tuesday news conference, in which he angrily demanded that the administration meet the needs of the crisis.
“The president says it’s a war,” the governor said. “Well, then, act like it’s a war!”
He continued: “You pick the 26,000 people who are going to die because you only sent 400 ventilators.”