New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) gave a rousing speech to National Guard members gathered at a temporary hospital on Friday, calling on them to “kick coronavirus ass.”
“I say, my friends, that we go out there today and we kick coronavirus ass, that’s what I say. And we're going to save lives and New York is going to thank you,” Cuomo told National Guard service members who helped construct a temporary hospital at the Javits Center in New York City.
The image of Cuomo in a white polo shirt giving an enthusiastic speech to a group of soldiers was the latest event where the New York governor stepped into the spotlight as his state becomes the focal point of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States.
“I am proud to be with you yet again and I’m proud to fight this fight with you,” Cuomo said.
As New York faces a coming surge of coronavirus cases, which Cuomo projected will peak in 21 days, he is using the National Guard to help construct temporary hospitals. The state is already working on four, and Cuomo announced Friday that he is seeking federal approval to build four more.
The state is urgently trying to increase its capacity of hospital beds. Cuomo said they are estimated to need 140,000 beds, compared to the 53,000 that they have.
The state has also put out a call for retired doctors and other medical professionals to volunteer to help. Cuomo said more than 62,000 have volunteered.
“When other people played it safe, you had the courage to show up,” he told the soldiers.