New York governor Andrew Cuomo has hit back at claims by President Donald Trump that the state is stockpiling ventilators needed by coronavirus patients, calling his remarks “ignorant” and “grossly uninformed.”
The president tweeted on Friday morning: “Thousand [sic] of Federal Government (delivered) Ventilators found in New York storage. N.Y. must distribute NOW!”
Thousand of Federal Government (delivered) Ventilators found in New York storage. N.Y. must distribute NOW!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 27, 2020
CNN’s Shimon Prokupecz asked Cuomo about Trump’s claim Friday afternoon as he toured a field hospital being set up at Manhattan’s Jacob K Javits Convention Centre.
Cuomo argued that the ventilators were stored in preparation for when New York hospitals exceed their capacity as the state has become the epicenter of the American coronavirus outbreak.
“That is incorrect and grossly uninformed,” he said.
“The point is we have ventilators in a stockpile and we didn’t send them to the hospitals yet,” Cuomo said. “Of course we didn’t, that’s the whole point. The hospitals don’t need them yet, the hospitals aren’t at their apex, the hospitals have enough ventilators today.”
Cuomo added that his office was planning for a peak in cases “in about 21 days — that’s when we need the 30,000 ventilators, not today.”
“So the point is, ‘well they’re in a stockpile, you must not need them’ is just ignorant — of course you don’t need them today!” Cuomo continued. “You need them when you hit the apex, which is 30,000. We’re not there yet.”
In an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News on Thursday night, the president called into question the number of ventilators that states were asking for ahead of the peak in coronavirus cases.
“And you know, they’d say, like Governor Cuomo and others that say we want, you know, 30,000 of them, 30,000. All right. Think of this. You know, you go to hospitals, they’ll have one in a hospital. And now, all of a sudden everybody’s asking for these vast numbers,” said the president.
He doubled down on the claim later in the interview: “I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You know, you’re going to major hospitals sometimes, they’ll have two ventilators. And now, all of a sudden, they’re saying, can we order 30,000 ventilators?”