Virus cases spike in NYC as U.S. scrambles to deliver ventilators

Video credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 22, 2020 - Duration: 03:08s

Virus cases spike in NYC as U.S. scrambles to deliver ventilators

Ventilators, face masks and other personal protective equipment will first be directed to New York and other states that need it most as production ramps up amid the coronavirus outbreak, U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci said on Sunday.

This report produced by Zachary Goelman.

Virus cases spike in NYC as U.S. scrambles to deliver ventilators


There's no doubt about it.

We see it in New York.

New York is terribly suffering." That's the grim forecast from one of America's top health officials on Sunday, as New York state registered more than 15,000 coronavirus cases, more than half of the total so far confirmed in the U.S., according to a Reuters tally.

New York is now facing a tidal wave of potential hospitalizations, which health experts warn could overwhelm the state's capacity for intensive care beds and ventilators.

Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health said the federal government was readying stockpiles of desperately needed supplies.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES DIRECTOR ANTHONY FAUCI, SAYING: "And the situation is now that the resources that are being marshaled are going to be clearly directed to those hot-spots that need it most.

And clearly, that's California, Washington state, and obviously New York is the most hard-hit." The resources can't come quickly enough.

New York City alone has more than 8,000 cases, more than a third of the nation's total.

And on Sunday Mayor Bill de Blasio told CNN, "if we donโ€™t get more ventilators in the next 10 days people will die who donโ€™t have to die." Governor Andrew Cuomo said he'd spoken with the Army Corps of Engineers about setting up mobile hospitals at four locations in the state: two on Long Island, one in Westchester County, and one in the heart of Manhattan.

He'd approved the sites, but there's one problem: (SOUNDBITE) (English) NEW YORK GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO, SAYING: "They don't bring supplies and they don't bring staff." Cuomo also said he'd also spoken to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which would establish four mobile hospitals - with 250 beds each - inside New York City's Javits convention center on Manhattan's West Side.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) NEW YORK GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO, SAYING: "The FEMA hospitals come with staff, and with supplies." Out of close to 400 coronavirus deaths in the U.S., more than 100 have been New York state residents.

And New York, along with Illinois, Connecticut, and California is directing tens of millions of people - nearly one in four Americans - to stay at home in the most sweeping U.S. social-distancing measures yet imposed for the escalating campaign to curb transmission of the coronavirus.

Despite that stay-at-home direction, warm weekend weather drew sunbathers to beaches in California, shoppers browsed New York farmers' markets, and cyclists pedaled around Central Park.

This clearly irked Governor Cuomo.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) NEW YORK GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO, SAYING: "You would think that there was nothing going on in parts of New York City.

You would think it's just a bright sunny Saturday.

I don't know what I'm saying that people don't get.

[FLASH] It's a mistake.

It's insensitive, it's arrogant, it's self-destructive, it's disrespectful to other people.

And it has to stop, and it has to stop now." Cuomo ordered all non-essential employees to stay home and all businesses not deemed essential to close.

Hospitals, pharmacies, groceries and news media were exempt from the order.

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