EASTER BAS­KET CASE

Hare-brained Trump wants churches full for holiday — even as he calls NYC ‘very hot spot’

New York Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - BY SHANT SHAHRIGIAN, MARCO POGGIO AND CHRIS SOMMERFELD­T

It’s all about the ven­ti­la­tors.

Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Bla­sio pleaded with the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion on Tuesday to send more ven­ti­la­tors to New York amid a fright­en­ing spike in coro­n­avirus cases, de­scrib­ing the breath­ing as­sis­tance ma­chines as “the most im­por­tant” weapon in the fight against the vi­ral pan­demic.

Af­ter an­nounc­ing there are now at least 25,665 con­firmed coro­n­avirus cases in the state, Cuomo played bad cop and un­loaded on Pres­i­dent Trump for boast­ing ear­lier in the day about se­cur­ing a measly 400 ven­ti­la­tors for New York.

“Four hun­dred ven­ti­la­tors? I need 30,000 ven­ti­la­tors. You want a pat on the back for 400 ven­ti­la­tors?” a seething Cuomo said in a brief­ing from

Man­hat­tan’s Jav­its Cen­ter, which the Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency is in the process of turn­ing into an emer­gency field hospi­tal.

The gov­er­nor added, “You pick the 26,000 who are go­ing to die.”

At least 210 New York­ers have died from the virus so far, ac­cord­ing to state health of­fi­cials, ac­count­ing for nearly one-third of all U.S. deaths.

New York’s 25,665 con­firmed cases ac­count for more than half of all in­fec­tions in the coun­try, mak­ing it by far the worst-hit state. In to­tal, the U.S. has roughly 50,000 con­firmed cases.

Cuomo said his ad­min­is­tra­tion has pro­cured 7,000 ven­ti­la­tors, but added that a “crit­i­cal and des­per­ate need” for at least 30,000 more re­mains.

The ma­chines are life­sav­ing for peo­ple who de­velop se­vere symp­toms from the virus, such as pneu­mo­nia and acute res­pi­ra­tory dis­tress syn­drome. Cuomo bris­tled at Trump over his re­fusal to ac­ti­vate the De­fense Pro­duc­tion Act to com­pel man­u­fac­tur­ers to ramp up pro­duc­tion of ven­ti­la­tors or al­low New York to make use of some of the 20,000 breath­ing ma­chines in fed­eral stock­piles.

“The ven­ti­la­tors will make the dif­fer­ence be­tween life and death — lit­er­ally,” Cuomo fumed. “I do not for the life of me un­der­stand the re­luc­tance to use the De­fense Pro­duc­tion Act.”

On the other side of the East River, de Bla­sio played good cop with Trump while in­spect­ing the 400 newly de­liv­ered ven­ti­la­tors at a Brook­lyn ware­house.

“This is what I spoke di­rectly to Pres­i­dent Trump and Vice Pres­i­dent Pence about. … Hav­ing this ship­ment right now is go­ing to be life­sav­ing,” de Bla­sio said, point­ing to a ven­ti­la­tor and hail­ing the ma­chine as “the most im­por­tant piece of equip­ment in this cri­sis.”

Dur­ing a brief­ing at City

Hall later in the day, de Bla­sio struck a less pla­cat­ing tone.

“So long as there is a sin­gle ven­ti­la­tor sit­ting in a ware­house … some­thing’s wrong,” he said of the fed­eral stock­piles.

De Bla­sio an­tic­i­pated that the city alone will need at least 15,000 ven­ti­la­tors.

Of the 25,665 cases re­ported by Cuomo, 15,597 are in the five bor­oughs, ac­cord­ing to state of­fi­cials.

As of Tuesday evening, Queens had the most cases in the city — 4,667 — fol­lowed by Brook­lyn, 4,407; Man­hat­tan, 3,013; the Bronx, 2,505, and Staten Is­land, 999.

At least 192 peo­ple have died in the Big Ap­ple.

Seem­ingly pick­ing up on Cuomo’s blis­ter­ing ven­ti­la­tor crit­i­cism, Pence said at the White House that the ad­min­is­tra­tion is ex­pect­ing to send an­other 4,000 breath­ing ma­chines to New York by Thurs­day.

Trump, on the other hand, sug­gested Cuomo should be grate­ful New York is get­ting any fed­eral help at all.

“We are work­ing very, very hard for the peo­ple of New York. We are work­ing a lot with him. Then I watch him on this show com­plain­ing,” the Queens-born pres­i­dent said dur­ing a Fox New­shosted town hall event in the White House Rose Gar­den.

Trump also faulted the gov­er­nor for turn­ing down a chance to buy 16,000 ven­ti­la­tors in 2015.

“He could have had a great price, and he didn’t buy them,” Trump said.

The pres­i­dent was re­fer­ring to New York State Health Com­mis­sioner Howard Zucker’s de­ci­sion to not buy 16,000 ven­ti­la­tors in prepa­ra­tion for a po­ten­tial pan­demic in 2015. At the time, Zucker rea­soned there wouldn’t be enough med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als trained to use the ma­chines.

Pres­i­dent Trump puts all his corona-cov­ered eggs in one bas­ket with his call to get coun­try up and run­ning in three weeks.

Gov. Cuomo, speak­ing Tuesday at the Jav­its Con­ven­tion Cen­ter, said get­ting 30,000 more ven­ti­la­tors would make “dif­fer­ence be­tween life and death — lit­er­ally.”

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