New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who recently berated the Trump administration amid claims that the state would need thousands more ventilators to deal with COVID-19, is now giving some of them away because they are not needed in New York.
“On the ventilators, we’ve stabilized our health care situation,” Cuomo said at his daily news conference Wednesday.
“We’ve stabilized our healthcare situation.”
NY Governor Cuomo says the state will give ventilators to Michigan & Maryland
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) April 15, 2020
“New York had one of the earlier curves. There are other places in this country that are now seeing increases in the death rate — and they’re seeing stress on their health care system.”
Cuomo announced he would send 100 ventilators to Michigan and 50 ventilators to Maryland.
The difference between Cuomo’s current and past actions was fodder for discussion on Twitter:
It appears that Gov. Cuomo did not actually need 30,000 ventilators. From today’s perspective, if NY has passed peak need for ventilators, how many did it, in fact, need when Cuomo made that statement?
— Byron York (@ByronYork) April 15, 2020
Cuomo’s been calling daily, even hourly, begging for everything, most of which should have been the state’s responsibility, such as new hospitals, beds, ventilators, etc. I got it all done for him, and everyone else, and now he seems to want Independence! That won’t happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 14, 2020
Cuomo said he needed 30,000 ventilators or Trump needed to pick who was going to die@realDonaldTrump said he didn’t need anywhere near that many
The media piled on #Trump
Look who was right https://t.co/fXt8cXH2sa
— Jim Hanson (@JimHansonDC) April 13, 2020
Andrew Cuomo needed 30,000 ventilators 2 weeks ago and now he is giving them away?
He never needed them in the first place. @realDonaldTrump was right as usual.
— Vertue Global (@VertueCo) April 15, 2020
Cuomo has been unprepared and wrong about everything, yet treated like a rock star! Imagine if not for President Trump and the federal government giving him everything, supplies, ventilators, hospitals, a Navy ship, military personnel!
— Robert Woods (@rawoods24) April 10, 2020
In late March, Cuomo had put the state’s demand for ventilators in stark terms, saying to federal officials that without them, “You pick the 26,000 people who are going to die,” according to Politico.
When the federal government sent 400 ventilators to the state, Cuomo was outraged.
‘“Four hundred ventilators? I need 30,000 ventilators,” Cuomo said in March, The Daily Beast reported. “You want a pat on the back for sending 400 ventilators? You’re missing the magnitude of the problem.”
President Donald Trump at the time downplayed the need.
“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,” he told Fox News host Sean Hannity, according to Politico. “I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You go into major hospitals sometimes, and they’ll have two ventilators. And now, all of a sudden, they’re saying, ‘Can we order 30,000 ventilators?’”
The federal government did end up sending New York state 4,000 ventilators, the New York Post reported.
To corner enough ventilators for the projected needs at the time, Cuomo obtained another 1,000 ventilators from China, according to Time.
Cuomo also authorized the National Guard to take ventilators and other equipment from facilities in upstate New York — the part of New York state north and west of New York City — for use in NYC.
“I’m not going to be in a position where people are dying and we have several hundred ventilators in our own state, somewhere else,” Cuomo said at the time, according to Politico. “I apologize for the hardship to those institutions — ultimately there is no hardship, if you don’t get the ventilator back, I give you my personal word I will pay you for the ventilator — but I’m not going to let people die because we didn’t redeploy these ventilators.”
That plan had been opposed by Republican lawmakers, including U.S. Rep. Tom Reed.
“Taking our ventilators by force leaves people without protection and hospitals unable to save lives today or respond to a coming surge,” he tweeted. “We stand together opposing the Governor’s very dangerous and reckless action of taking our ventilators. He is leaving our communities in a terrible position which will cost lives.”
We stand together opposing the Governor’s very dangerous and reckless action of taking our ventilators. He is leaving our communities in a terrible position which will cost lives.
— Tom Reed (@RepTomReed) April 3, 2020
The difference between what was claimed and what was needed was noted by Mollie Hemingway, writing for The Federalist.
“[I]t is interesting how little media coverage is devoted to the fact that President Trump wasn’t just right about the exaggerated needs, but that he and his administration were even more right than they probably imagined,” she wrote last week.
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