Gov. Andrew Cuomo is calling on the federal government to immediately nationalize vital medical supplies by using the defense production act as the number of deaths related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has risen to 114 in New York State.
Nationally, also as of midday Sunday, March 22, there have been 374 COVID-19 related deaths. (See first image above.)
"We need the materials now," Cuomo said. "We are competing with other states to get supplies, and it shouldn't be that way."
Cuomo said that has led to price gouging, what he called a "mad bidding war" with masks that normally sell for 80 cents each now being purchased by the state for as much as $8 each.
He said that's why the federal government should immediately order the production of masks, gowns and ventilators by private companies.
"The president can do this," Cuomo said. "Frankly, it's the president's style to cut to the chase and say I'm mandating it, and. he should do that here."
New York has 15 times the number of cases as any other state, with 15,168 cases.
Cuomo called the rising number of deaths "sad and distressing" and "should give everyone pause."
Seventy percent of those who died in New York State of COVID were 70 years or older and the majority had an underlying health condition, Cuomo said.
He said that's why it's urgent the Army Corps of Engineers and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) immediately start building the four temporary hospitals at the Javits Center in Manhattan (with 1,000-bed capacity), Westchester County Center (250 beds), SUNY Old Westbury (250 beds) and SUNY Stony Brook (250 beds).
"If we get these facilities up, we get these supplies, we will save lives," Cuomo said. "If we don't, we will lose lives. I don't mean to be overly dramatic, but those are the simple facts."
To free up hospital space now, Cuomo has ordered elective surgeries to be canceled effective Wednesday, March 25.
There were nearly 5,000 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in New York State at midday Sunday, with 2,832 in New York City, 667 in Nassau County, 486 in Westchester, 373 in Suffolk, 193 in Rockland, 84 in Orange County and 33 in Dutchess County (See third image above.)
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