There Are Not Enough Ventilators, Not Enough Beds – Officials Worry as Pandemic Grows

There Are Not Enough Ventilators, Not Enough Beds – Officials Worry as Pandemic Grows
Governor Cuomo Calls on President Trump to Take Comprehensive Federal Action to Combat Coronavirus. Photo by Darren McGee/ Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called on President Trump to send the United States Army Corps to New York in order to prepare the state for expected shortages of hospital beds and medical supplies in an interview with CNN on Monday, March 16.

“We’re overwhelming our health care system,” said Governor Cuomo. “We need additional beds, and we need the Army Corps of Engineers to come in here and retrofit state buildings, dormitories, et cetera for additional hospital beds.”

Governor Cuomo estimated New York has 52,000 hospital beds across the state, including 3000 ICU beds, in a press conference on Sunday, March 15.

“Three thousand goes very, very quickly on any projection of these numbers,” said Governor Cuomo.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar refused to reveal how many ventilators the United States has stockpiled, citing “national security concerns,” in a press conference on Sunday, March 15.

Governor Cuomo worries that Azar is refusing to release this information in order to quell fears over shortages.

“National security imperative is people would get very nervous if they knew how few they had… We’re looking at an overrun in New York in the tens of thousands,” said Cuomo. “We’ve been behind this all along. The federal government has to step up.”

NPR reported that there are an estimated 62,000 ventilators in hospitals across the country, based on a 2010 study.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also called for federal action, including the mobilization of military resources, in an interview with MSNBC on Monday, March 16.

Mayor De Blasio holding a press conference on Covid-19 at City Hall. Photo by Ed Reed/ New York City Mayoral Photography Office.

“We’re going to have to set up emergency ICUs in hospitals, not only all over New York City, all over America. We’re going to need the United States military to come in with their substantial logistical and medical capacity. We’re going to need the supply chain nationalized in some form,” said De Blasio. “Right now, there’s no effort to make sure that ventilators, surgical masks, even down to hand sanitizer — all of these products should be put on a 24/7 production cycle. Whatever factories anywhere can make them should be cranking them out. They should be distributed according to federal priority as you would in a war.”