Speed Reads

the coronavirus crisis

Cuomo pleads for federal help with 'critical and desperate' ventilator shortage

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Tuesday the state is in desperate need of federal help as the increase in COVID-19 coronavirus cases "continues unabated."

In a news conference, Cuomo said there has been a "dramatic increase in the rate of infection" in New York, which now has more than 25,000 confirmed coronavirus cases. The number of new infections is doubling about every three days.

"The inescapable conclusion is that the rate of infection is going up," Cuomo said. "It is spiking. The apex is higher than we thought, and the apex is sooner than we thought. That is a bad combination of facts. ... It is clear that we must dramatically increase the hospital capacity to meet that highest apex."

Cuomo continued by describing the state's "critical and desperate need" for more ventilators. He said while "we have been working around the clock" and "scouring the globe" for them, only 7,000 have been procured and no fewer than 30,000 more are needed.

"The only way we can obtain these ventilators is from the federal government," Cuomo said, urging Trump to use the Defense Production Act to ramp up the production of ventilators because the state needs them within 14 days. "Not to exercise that power is inexplicable to me."

While FEMA announced Tuesday it's sending 400 ventilators to New York, Cuomo said this is "missing the magnitude of the problem," and he urged Trump to "act like it's a war" after he called himself a wartime president.

The governor also warned that while New York has by far the most coronavirus cases in the United States, the state is "the canary in the coal mine," and "what happens to New York is going to wind up happening to California, and Washington state, and Illinois. It's just a matter of time."