The New York State reported its highest number of 562 COVID-19 deaths in a single day, with a person dying almost every two-and-a-half minutes, as Governor Andrew Cuomo allowed redistribution of ventilators and protective gear to hospitals with greater need.
Coronavirus cases in the state, the epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S. , crossed 1,00,000 and it recorded the highest increase in the number of deaths from the virus in a single day between April 2 and 3, Mr. Cuomo said.
The death toll in the state now stands at 2,935, an increase of 562 deaths in just one day, Mr. Cuomo said.
The curve continues to go up, Mr. Cuomo said while addressing reporters on Friday.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the state now stand at 1,02,863, nearly half of all COVID-19 infections in the U.S., where the tally has reached 2,77,953. New York City alone has 56,289 coronavirus patients.
Mr. Cuomo also gave a grim assessment of the rising number of casualties, saying the state witnessed the highest single increase in the number of deaths since we started.
More than 7,000 people have died in the US, and 1,867 in the New York City alone, according to Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Centre.
“More people in New York died from the virus in the last 24 hours than in the first 27 days of March. The state’s death toll has nearly doubled in the last three days,” The New York Times said.
Shortage of PPEs
The Governor also expressed anger over the short supply of essential medical equipment for healthcare professionals to help them deal with the surge in the cases across the state and the country.
He said personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, gowns and face shields are in short supply in New York as they are across the country and there is need for companies to make these materials.
"It is unbelievable to me that in New York State, in the United States of America, we can’t make these materials and that we are all shopping China to try to get these materials and we’re all competing against each other," he said.
Holding up an N-95 mask and a medical gown, Mr. Cuomo said "these are not complex materials and we will work with New York manufacturers, will finance the transition necessary to make these materials."
"I mean we talk about them as if they’re very complicated," he said, adding that "it can’t be that we can’t make these. It can’t be that companies in this country and in this state can’t transition to make those supplies quickly.”
Mr. Cuomo asserted that he is not going to get into a situation where the state is running out of ventilators and people are dying because there are no ventilators but there are hospitals in other parts of the state that have them but are not using.
He signed an executive order allowing the state to redistribute ventilators and personal protective equipment from hospitals, private sector companies and institutions that don’t currently need them and redeploy the equipment to other hospitals with the highest need.
"Those institutions will either get their ventilators back or they will be reimbursed and paid for their ventilators so they can buy a new ones. I can’t do anything more than that. But I’m not going to be in a position where people are dying and we have several hundred ventilators in our own state somewhere else If you don’t get the ventilator back, I will give you my personal word, I’ll pay you for the ventilator. I’m not going to let people die because we didn’t redistribute ventilators," he said.
Trying to increase supply of ventilators, says Governor
Mr. Cuomo has warned that the state has about six days of ventilators in its stockpile and he is doing everything possible to increase the supply.
"We are talking to the federal government to be as helpful as they can but in truth I don’t believe the federal stockpile has enough (ventilators) to help all the states because you can’t buy the material at this point. We’re still trying to buy from China," he said.
A report in The New York Times quoted chief medical officer of the Mount Sinai Health System Vicki LoPachin as saying, "it is hard to put fully into words what we are all grappling with as we navigate our way through this pandemic. We are healing so many and comforting those we can’t save — one precious life at a time."
The report added that in signalling the strain on hospitals, Lenox Hill Medical Center in Manhattan temporarily experienced a drop in pressure in its oxygen supply Friday. The cause was apparently the heavy demand.