Cuomo says New York will exhaust ventilator stockpile in six days

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Thursday that the state will exhaust its stockpile of ventilators in six days, raising new concerns about whether the state has enough supplies to fight the coronavirus.

“At the current burn rate, we have about six days of ventilators in our stockpile,” Cuomo said at a press briefing. 

Cuomo said that shortage is “troubling” but noted that there are extraordinary measures the state can take to increase its supply.

Those include repurposing anesthesia machines as ventilators, splitting ventilators to use on two patients at once and moving ventilators from upstate hospitals down to New York City.

Cuomo has repeatedly called on the Trump administration for help, and the federal government has sent some ventilators, but Cuomo said he is acting as if the state is “on our own” and does not know if the federal government can send more. 

President Trump has at times questioned whether New York really needs as many ventilators as the state says. 

Officials in many states have said they wish the federal government would take more charge of the process of obtaining supplies so that states are not bidding against each other.

Cuomo said the federal government is “very aware of our situation” and that he spoke to Trump Thursday morning. If need be, he said, “I’ll plead” with the federal government for more.

Trump tweeted criticism of New York’s efforts to get supplies on Thursday, while at the same time praising Cuomo. 

“Unlike other states, New York unfortunately got off to a late start,” Trump tweeted. “You should have pushed harder. Stop complaining & find out where all of these supplies are going. Cuomo working hard!”

The governor said 2,200 ventilators remain in the state stockpile, but about 350 people come into hospitals every night needing a ventilator.

Cuomo noted that the extraordinary measures are available, but still noted the gravity of the situation, given how important ventilators are to allowing a seriously ill person to breathe and stay alive.

“If the person comes in and needs a ventilator and you don’t have a ventilator, the person dies,” Cuomo said.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) has also warned his state could run out of ventilators as soon as this week, even with a shipment of 150 more from the federal government.

“The 150 will only get us a day or so, maybe two, before we exceed that capacity. Even with the 150 it’s going to be around April 4 or 5,” Edwards said Tuesday.

Updated at 1:09 p.m.

Tags Andrew Cuomo Donald Trump

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