As coronavirus tears through its new epicenter of New York, the state’s top leader is now using his authority to thuggishly secure needed medical equipment.
No, Gov. Andrew Cuomo won’t be taking a stiffer stance at the negotiation table, but will be seizing gear that the state needs from private hands. The targeted items include ventilators and personal protective gear.
According to The Associated Press, Cuomo announced the move Friday, vowing to sign an executive order giving him the power to raid companies and private hospitals for the gear.
While the governor promises to either return the equipment or eventually pay the owners for it, he is also scoffing at any legal threat against him.
“If they want to sue me for borrowing their excess ventilators to save lives, let them sue me,” Cuomo said.
Once the executive order is signed, it’s unclear what recourse New Yorkers and companies will have to protect their private property.
Cuomo is not content to leave this up to law enforcement officials alone and will be mobilizing the state’s National Guard to redistribute the medical devices and gear.
We do not have enough ventilators.
I am signing an Executive Order allowing the state to take ventilators and redistribute to hospitals in need.
The National Guard will be mobilized to move ventilators to where they are urgently required to save lives.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) April 3, 2020
This is a drastic departure from Cuomo’s previous stance on ventilators.
When it was discovered in late March that New York state had a stockpile of the in-demand breathing machines, Cuomo brushed off the unused machines by claiming “we don’t need them yet.”
The state now leads the nation in confirmed COVID-19 cases. According to Johns Hopkins, New York alone has more infected than every country with the exception of Italy and Spain.
New York’s shocking number of cases was seemingly inflated by bad advice given by leaders.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who heads the worst-hit city in the state, encouraged people to go on with their lives, go “out on the town” and even fill movie theaters as late as March 2.
Since I’m encouraging New Yorkers to go on with your lives + get out on the town despite Coronavirus, I thought I would offer some suggestions. Here’s the first: thru Thurs 3/5 go see “The Traitor” @FilmLinc. If “The Wire” was a true story + set in Italy, it would be this film.
— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) March 3, 2020
Now, the city is in a bad position.
Cuomo’s order to seize private property comes at a time when fear virtually reigns supreme, and it’s unclear if he will be challenged on this matter by anyone able to do so.
While New York residents may have a few more ventilators for public use, they’re losing something much more precious in the process.
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