I haven’t been writing here because, frankly, I just have a limit to how much stupidity I can tolerate, and the Trump Administration and Republican governors have gone so far beyond that I just tune most of it out. That said, I wanted to check in to give a counterpoint to Betty’s excellent run-down of what’s happening in Florida.
I’ve been watching Andrew Cuomo’s briefings, and reading local media. We are in deep shit here, but at least we’re fighting back, and Cuomo is leading the fight. It may not make a difference — we may be overwhelmed, but goddamit we are not going down without a hell of a fight, and what kind of state are we if we just roll over?
It’s not like New York is a sterling example of success. Our unemployment site shit the bed, too, but anyone paying attention to Cuomo’s press conference knows the person in charge, knows that the volume was two orders of magnitude more than usual, and knows what is being done to fix it.
We’ll probably run out of ventilators. Today, Cuomo authorized the National Guard to go to hospitals and pick up ventilators so the state can re-allocated them. Anesthesia machines have ventilators, and we’re using as many of them as we can. A hospital system on Long Island is 3D printing adapters so BiPAP machines can be used on intubated patients as a form of a ventilator. The other day Cuomo held up a bag and valve mask and talked about training National Guard personnel to use them on patients. We’re experimenting with using one ventilator for two patients. Will any of this work? It might, and we’re trying.
PPE is in desperately short supply. Today, Cuomo held up a N-95 mask and a gown and again asked any New York company to step forward and start making them. I know it’s not as easy as he says it is, but I hope that we develop some kind of homegrown supply. One success story in Rochester: at the request of our local health system, a plastic manufacturer has started making face shields for medical personnel.
We have over 80,000 retired medical staff who have volunteered to come out of retirement and work. After Cuomo asked for help from other states a couple of days ago, over 10,000 out-of-staters have volunteered. He’s promised that we will return the favor to other states once the apex passes our state.
We are treating our hospital systems as one resource, and transferring patients upstate when downstate facilities fill up. Medical personnel from upstate are rotating through the hot zones, and Cuomo regularly praises their bravery.
Aside from New Yorkers working together, the other theme of Cuomo’s press conferences is the almost complete uselessness of the federal government. The federal temporary hospitals that were set up were initially barred from seeing COVID patients, the theory being that they would take the non-COVID patients from regular hospitals so those hospitals could concentrate on COVID patients. There are few non-COVID patients in hospitals right now (people staying inside really cuts down on accidents and injuries). Cuomo announced today that he convinced Trump to convert the temporary hospital at the Javits center to a COVID hospital. The USNS Comfort currently has 20 patients because it is mired in red tape. It will probably be a floating COVID ward soon — Cuomo is good at working Trump. Cuomo’s criticism for the federal government is diffuse, while his praise for Trump is specific, which is the only way to deal with that madman.
There have always been incompetent shitheads in military leadership, and there have been good leaders who have lost battles. In New York (like Washington State, and California, and other blue and some red states), we have a good leader. We may lose this battle, but if I or someone close to me dies from COVID, at least I’ll know that New York did our best plus a little more. I don’t know what more I can ask for, even though I mourn the deaths caused by Republican stupidity.