Andrew Cuomo’s briefing today, which is still going on as I’m writing this, is grim. There was no joking around, no daughter present, no smiling. He’s pleading with the federal government to do something. Our apex – peak cases – will be happening in 14-21 days. It will be more than our current hospital capacity can handle. We need ventilators and the federal government has done next to nothing. We need 30,000 ventilators. There are 20,000 ventilators in the whole federal stockpile. FEMA sent New York 400. Cuomo wants the Defense Production Act to be invoked immediately to compel manufacturers to start making ventilators. He ridiculed the notion that companies are going to volunteer to do this, and pointed out that the Defense Production Act guarantees that the government will buy ventilators that it requisitions.
He addressed Trump’s ridiculous, early concentration on the economy with two points. First, no American wants to kill people to get the economy restarted. “My mother is not expendable, your mother is not expendable. We are not going to accept a premise that human life is expendable.” Second, the way to get the economy restarted is to develop a test to find the 80% of the population that will clear the virus, and presumably be immune, and send them back to work.
Finally, he offered that after New York was past its apex, he would send ventilators, and healthcare workers, to states that need them.
It’s hard to understate how many people Trump’s inaction and incompetence will kill, and Cuomo clearly recognized that today.