Governor hits out at Trump’s over ‘by Easter’ claim
The New York governor, Andrew Cuomo, hit back yesterday at Donald Trump’s suggestion that the US could soon be open for business, warning that coronavirus cases were rising much faster than expected and the state’s hospitals were in danger of being overwhelmed.
A day after Trump insisted that the US “cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself”, Cuomo said the New York health system was unequipped for an imminent surge in coronavirus patients. Already, the state has about 25,000 cases – more than 6% of the global total.
“The inescapable conclusion is that the rate of infection is going up,” Cuomo said. “It is spiking. The apex is higher than we thought and the apex is sooner than we thought. That is a bad combination of facts.”
The Democratic governor attacked the Trump administration’s handling of the crisis, saying federal authorities had offered his state just 400 ventilators when he estimated an additional 30,000 would be needed. Estimates suggest New York state will need to triple the number of beds from about
50,000 at present. “We need to be smarter about this,” he said. “We need the federal help and we need it now.”
Cuomo’s urgent message comes as a spokesperson for the World Health Organization warned that the US had the potential to become the next global hotspot for the pandemic. The country already has almost 50,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases, resulting in 600 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
New York is conducting more testing per capita than countries such as South Korea, which may partially explain the steep rise in numbers.
“What happens to New York is going to wind up happening to California, and Washington state, and Illinois. It’s just a matter of time,” Cuomo said.
“We’re just getting there first … We are your future.”
As of Monday, the New York Times estimated that more than 158 million people in 16 US states would soon be under strict orders to stay at home – approaching half the population.
But even as state and local governments took drastic measures, Trump is insisting the country may restart its economy long before it was expected, perhaps in as little as two weeks.
“I would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter,” the president said yesterday. He argued that tens of thousands of Americans die from the seasonal flu or in car accidents each year but “we don’t turn the country off”.