Governor Andrew Cuomo sharply criticized the coronavirus relief bill in the U.S. Senate, calling the $2 trillion plan a “drop in the bucket” for New York.
The state now has more than 30,000 confirmed cases of the disease, 10 times more than the next state, New Jersey.
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But the overall aid for New York stands at $3.5 billion, which Cuomo, on Wednesday at a news conference, said won’t be nearly enough.
“This is a drop in the bucket for what we need,” he said, saying the high-end estimate in revenue loss alone for New York could hit $15 billion.
Cuomo on Tuesday had pleaded with federal officials to provide more material support to the state, including tens of thousands of ventilators and as many as 140,000 hospital beds to handle the crush of patients. The curve of new infections and hospitalizations, Cuomo said, is not yet flattened.
“We are still on the way up the mountain,” Cuomo said.
But on Wednesday, Cuomo was also more upbeat than his briefing at the Javits Center a day earlier in New York City. The projected rate of new hospitalization cases, once estimated to double every two days is now expected to double once every 4.7 days.
He also pointed to the 40,000 licensed retired health care professionals who have signed up to work as a “surge health care force” and the more than 6,000 mental health workers who are providing voluntary services. The state has set up a hotline, 1-844-863-9314, to provide mental health counseling for free.
Cuomo also modulated his tone toward the Trump administration and the use of the Defense Production Act. He said he spoke with President Donald Trump and the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, complimenting their efforts on the crisis.
But securing more ventilators, as many as 40,000, remains a serious issue for the state. Officials are exploring efforts that would split ventilators between two patients.
He also urged the Trump administration to let New York have the equipment first, as the state prepares to take the first brunt of the pandemic as part of a rolling deployment.
Cuomo vowed he would oversee efforts to disburse the equipment elsewhere in the country.
“I personally guarantee,” Cuomo said, “we will bring that personnel, we will bring that equipment, we will bring that technical assistance to the rest of the country.”