New York to run out of ventilators in days: mayor

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NEW YORK, March 22, 2020 (BSS/AFP) – New York is days away from running out
of essential equipment needed to keep hospitals running, its mayor warned
Sunday, likening the coronavirus pandemic to the Great Depression.

The Big Apple has the highest number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the
United States and Bill de Blasio said the city’s hospitals were at breaking
point.

“Bluntly, we’re about ten days away now from seeing widespread shortages of
ventilators, surgical masks, the things necessary to keep a hospital system
running,” de Blasio told CNN.

He pleaded with President Donald Trump to mobilize the military to help
spur production and distribution of urgently needed medical supplies.

“If we don’t get more ventilators in the next ten days, people will die who
don’t have to die. It’s as simple as that,” said de Blasio.

He warned that “the worst is yet to come” and called the fast-spreading
outbreak “the greatest crisis domestically since the Great Depression” of the
1930s.

“That’s why we need a full-scale mobilization of the military and we need
the Congress to act like we’re on the way to the next great depression,” de
Blasio said.

“Forget bailing out the airlines right now. Bail out the people. Bail out
the hospitals. Bail out the cities and states and counties,” he added.

Almost 27,000 people have been infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus in
the United States, according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University.
More than 9,000 of them live in New York City, where there have been 60
fatalities.

A total of 114 people have died in New York state so far, Governor Andrew
Cuomo told reporters Sunday.

He said he had asked America’s Army Corps of Engineers to build four
temporary hospitals and ordered existing hospitals to increase capacity by 50
percent.

Cuomo added that all non-essential surgeries would be scrapped from
Wednesday to help free up space for coronavirus patients. He said New York
state needed 30,000 ventilators which can costs up to $40,000 each, lamenting
that states are competing with each other to purchase them.

“This is just an impossible situation to manage. If we don’t get the
equipment we can lose lives that we could have otherwise saved,” explained
Cuomo.

The head of the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency, Peter
Gaynor, in charge of the government’s response effort, said the demand for
supplies, such as ventilators, was a “global problem.”

“We’re working hard every day here to meet those demands,” he told ABC.

America’s leading infectious disease expert, Anthony Fauci, said the
federal government would start “pouring” resources into New York, California
and Washington state.

“The resources that are being marshaled are going to be clearly directed to
those hotspots that need it most,” Fauci, director at the National Institute
of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CBS.