New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks to reporters during a news conference, Friday, Sept. 14, 2018, in New York. After a night of unusual silence, Cuomo made his first public remarks following his victory in Thursday’s Democratic primary, appearing at his office in Manhattan to talk about hurricane readiness and President Donald Trump — and, after prodding by reporters, his big win over Cynthia Nixon.(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
A little earlier today, President Trump held a conference call with governors to review response to the Wuhan virus epidemic. One of the key points that President Trump pushed was that states cannot wait for the federal government to supply their needs and they can’t wait for federal resources. Time is of the essence and they should try to deal with the Wuhan epidemic as it develops relying primarily on state resources with the federal government as a backstop. According to notes on the phone call, this is what was said.
“Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment–try getting it yourselves. We will be backing you, but try getting it yourselves. Point of sales, much better, much more direct if you can get it yourself.”
This wasn’t good enough for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
President Trump: Deploy the Army Corps of Engineers to build temporary medical facilities, so that when hospitals are overwhelmed, we can move people into the temporary facilities.
It’s only a matter of time before our state's ICU beds fill up.
The federal gov't must act.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) March 16, 2020
To put this is in perspective, right now there are about 53,000 hospital beds in New York, 3,200 of those are intensive care unit beds. According to CDC, about 18,000 of those beds are vacant at any given moment (see Health, United States, 2017, Table 89, the most recent year for which that dataset was collected). According to the New York Times, this is the state of play in New York:
The state had 613 confirmed coronavirus cases, up sharply from Friday, including 269 cases in New York City. Statewide, 50 of those patients were being treated in hospitals as of Friday, including 18 who were in intensive care.
That translates to 8% of infections requiring hospitalization and of that 8% in the hospital, 36% would be in an ICU bed. Working backwards to New York’s hospital bed capacity, New York has the organic capacity to treat some 225,000 people at one time with Wuhan out of its own resources. (A better model for the absolute number of Wuhan cases New York can manage is dependent upon the rate of infection, the length of stay required in a hospital, and assumptions about future rates of required hospitalization.)
In short, Cuomo’s statement seems like nothing more than him abrogating his own responsibility as governor and trying to blame the federal government for the inability of his own administration should this all this go South. In fact, Cuomo’s actions and statements seem like those of a man who is either trying to create a panic or creating a bolt hole, not those of a confident leader who is trying to convince the citizens of his state and local jurisdictions that he has a grip on what the hell is happening. This, for instance, is not a useful public statement to make. Is reeks of ‘all is lost’ when heard by the public and federal officials hearing it hear ‘he’s trying to blame us.’ If you think that’s true, fine, but that sort of concern is raised privately because once people stop thinking you have a plan, they stop listening to you.
.@NYGovCuomo says his focus is to increase the capacity of NY’s hospital system, and he needs help from Army Corps of Engineers.
— Jimmy Vielkind (@JimmyVielkind) March 16, 2020
And given Cuomo’s history of blatant hackery and his status as a prominent member of the #Resistance it was no wonder that he got some push back. He got it.
Just had a very good tele-conference with Nation’s Governors. Went very well. Cuomo of New York has to “do more”.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 16, 2020
Fredo the Elder came unglued.
I have to do more?
No — YOU have to do something! You’re supposed to be the President. https://t.co/tYeDt1lcOZ
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) March 16, 2020
What Cuomo is trying to do is hog resources he doesn’t need to the detriment of other states, like Washington, which have a much higher per capita infection rate and fewer resources. What he wants to do in nothing less than the governmental equivalent of the panic buying of toilet paper. There is no evidence that New York won’t be able to manage on its own with some federal assistance. It would be insane to deploy a scare national resource, like the Army Corps of Engineers or mobile hospital units, to New York and have the wait around for something to happen, prudence demands that they be held in reserve and deployed by National Command Authority as an in extremis measure.
One of the holes the left has dug itself into over the past four years is that their hatred of Donald Trump outweighs all other considerations. In Cuomo’s case, attempting to damage President Trump takes precedence over the safety of the citizens of New York and what is best for the nation. The next four years are really going to suck for them.
It’s extraordinary how little the Governor of New York seems to know about the U.S. Constitution and the powers of states vs the power of the president.
— Raheem Kassam (@RaheemKassam) March 16, 2020