Trump is rejecting New York’s desperate pleas for more ventilators to save critically ill coronavirus patients
With more than 85,000 confirmed cases (and who knows how many unconfirmed), the U.S. has become the global epicenter for the coronavirus pandemic. We now have more cases than Italy, more cases than China. Much of the U.S. outbreak is centered in New York, where tens of thousands of people are sick and hundreds have died. New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, has been warning that the state’s hospitals are likely to buckle under an extreme influx of patients, and he’s been begging the federal government to help him source tens of thousands of ventilators that will save lives as COVID-19 continues to spread. And yesterday, Donald Trump went on TV and rejected Cuomo’s pleas.
Not only that, but Trump claimed he “doesn’t believe” that New York actually needs the life-saving medical equipment, and that he thinks numbers of coronavirus cases are somehow exaggerated, even though all facts and logic show we don’t have any kind of handle on how many people are sick in the U.S. due to a widespread lack of testing.
“I have a feeling that a lot of the numbers that are being said in some areas are just bigger than they’re going to be,” Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You know, you go into major hospitals sometimes, they’ll have two ventilators. And now all of a sudden they’re saying can we order 30,000 ventilators?”
Trump added, “Look, it’s a very bad situation. We haven’t seen anything like it, but the end result is we’ve got to get back to work, and I think we can start by opening up certain parts of the country.”
At a news conference earlier this week at NYC’s Javits Center, which is now a makeshift hospital to treat people sick with the virus, Cuomo expressed his frustration with the number of ventilators being sent to the state. “What am I going to do with 400 ventilators when I need 30,000?” he said. “You want a pat on the back for sending 400 ventilators? You’re missing the magnitude of the problem.”
We already have a model that shows us how this works. In Italy, doctors were forced to remove patients from ventilators so they could give breathing assistance to other patients they deemed more likely to survive. There were too many patients and not enough equipment to save them all. The U.S. now has more cases than Italy.
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