New York has only six days’ worth of ventilators left.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Thursday that at the rate at which the state is using ventilators for coronavirus patients, New York only has about six days left before it runs out of the lifesaving medical equipment.
“If a person comes in and needs a ventilator and you don’t have a ventilator, the person dies,” he said at his daily briefing in Albany. “That’s the blunt equation here. And right now we have a burn rate that would suggest we have about six days in the stockpile.”
Mr. Cuomo said that there were 2,200 ventilators in the stockpile and that about 350 new patients a day are needing them. At that rate, he said, “2,200 disappears very quickly.”
Mr. Cuomo said that he spoke to President Trump today and said that while he was sure “the federal government would do anything they can do to help,” he did not think New York could count on the administration to address the shortfall in time.
“I don’t think the federal government is in a position to provide ventilators to the extent the nation may need them,” he said. “Assume you are on your own in life.”
But Mr. Cuomo said that the state has been making contingency plans. It is trying to buy more ventilators on the open market, looking at using BPAP machines — another kind of respiratory device — and could move unused ventilators from hospitals in Upstate New York to New York City and the surrounding area if they are needed.
“We have all these extraordinary measures that I believe if push comes to shove will put us in fairly good shape,” he said.
The governor had several other alarming updates, including that Nassau County on Long Island had a “troubling” surge of over 1,000 new cases overnight and now has over 10,000 confirmed cases of the virus.
Here are the daily statistics from the governor’s briefing.
Deaths in New York State: 2,373, up by 432 from 1,941 on Wednesday. New York now has 49 percent of the nation’s 4,841 deaths from the virus.
Confirmed cases: 92,381 in New York State, up from 83,712. New York City has nearly 52,000 cases.
Currently hospitalized in New York State: 13,383 up from 12,226.
In intensive care in New York State: 3,396, up from 3,022.
In more positive news, the governor said that 21,000 medical workers from out of state have volunteered to work in New York’s hospitals. Including workers from New York, more than 85,000 health care professionals, many of them retirees, have said they’re willing to help.
And Mr. Cuomo’s brother, Chris, a CNN anchor who is fighting the virus, video-called in to the briefing to provide an update on his health. He said that he was “doing pretty well, all things considered.”
Mobile morgues are deployed to help overwhelmed funeral homes.
New York City has already set up 45 new mobile morgues. Local crematories are now allowed to work around the clock. At one Brooklyn hospital, the in-house morgue was filled to capacity on Tuesday. The next day, the nursing staff ran out of body bags.
As the coronavirus epidemic enters its second month, the casualties in New York are starting to severely tax the city’s ability to accommodate its dead. With more than 1,000 deaths so far and thousands more projected, city officials are working hard to stave off an emergency.
In the past few days, the city’s medical examiner’s office has taken over the collection of bodies, dispatching the fleet of new refrigerated trailers to hospitals in all five boroughs, some of whose morgues have already filled up. Funeral homes are becoming backed up. Cemeteries and crematories, running on smaller staffs, are scrambling to keep up with demand.
“It’s taking longer for the bodies to be released and for the bodies to be transferred,” said Patrick J. Kearns, a fourth-generation funeral director who operates three funeral homes in Queens and one on Long Island. “When you overwhelm the health system, you also overwhelm the death system.”
So far, officials say, the longstanding system for picking up and disposing of bodies in New York has not completely broken down; the city is not at an immediate risk for a secondary health crisis with corpses stacked in churches or lying in the streets, as has been the case in some Italian cities.
But at every step of the process — from hospitals to funeral homes to city-run morgues — people are feeling the strain of the sharp increase in deaths and acknowledge that it is only a prelude to the coming flood.
Three state hospitals in N.Y.C. will handle only coronavirus patients.
At SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, the operating rooms have been freed up and the cafeteria turned into a medical ward. The hospital is to begin exclusively treating patients suffering from Covid-19 on Governor Cuomo’s orders, and has been told to make way for hundreds of them.
“We’re really scrubbing the deck,” said Dr. Wayne J. Riley, president of the hospital, which is part of the State University of New York system and among Brooklyn’s biggest employers.
The number of coronavirus patients at the hospital is already nearing 200, Dr. Riley said, and the hospital expects to house up to 150 more. Patients with other ailments will be transferred to either the naval hospital ship Comfort or the makeshift wards at the Javits Convention Center.
The governor has designated two other state facilities as Covid-only hospitals: South Beach Psychiatric Facility in Staten Island and Westchester Square in the Bronx.
As at hospitals all over the city, the disease has taken a toll on SUNY Downstate. Resources are running low and doctors and nurses continue to fall ill, depleting desperately needed staff.
Even in normal times, the hospital has struggled. It is chronically underfunded and has not had serious capital improvements since it was built in 1963.
It serves a population that is among New York City’s poorest, with high rates of the conditions that can increase the risk of death from the virus, such as obesity, diabetes and hypertension.
“I’m concerned that this pandemic will exacerbate health care disparities for the patients we serve,” said Dr. Riley, who is in his third year as the hospital’s president. “The pandemic has a particular predilection for patients like ours.”
Trump tells Schumer to “stop complaining” about lack of supplies and praises Cuomo.
Senator Chuck Schumer tweeted on Thursday that President Trump should “quickly produce more medical supplies and equipment under the Defense Production Act NOW.”
“He needs to appoint a czar like a military or logistics expert to lead the effort to make and get the supplies where they’re needed,” Mr. Schumer wrote.
About ten minutes later, the president targeted the senator in his own message, writing “Somebody please explain to Cryin’ Chuck Schumer that we do have a military man in charge of distributing goods, a very talented Admiral, in fact.”
The president seemed to be referring to Rear Admiral John Polowczyk, a senior navy officer who is leading FEMA’s supply chain task force.
The president sent a follow-up tweet contrasting Mr. Schumer with Governor Cuomo, whom he said was “working hard”:
Senator Schumer, in his post, did not specify that he had been tweeting on behalf of his home state of New York.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have been in continual contact with the president, alternately pleading for and demanding supplies. The federal government has sent at least 4,400 ventilators to the state.
Mr. de Blasio said Wednesday that the city alone would need 400 additional ventilators and 3.3 million more N95 masks.
Playgrounds close, adding a new challenge for families.
All New York City playgrounds were ordered shut on Wednesday to slow the spread of the coronavirus — a move that led to scenes of crying children shaking locked gates, even as other parkgoers called the measure long overdue.
The announcement by Governor Cuomo followed calls from public-health experts and many City Council members to shut all playgrounds. But it added a new challenge for families weathering a lockdown that has closed schools.
Mr. Cuomo said he had to act because despite multiple public warnings, too many people continued to crowd playgrounds and jostle on basketball courts instead of staying six feet apart, as experts recommend to cut down on virus transmission.
In Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, where a boardwalk stretches for blocks along a windswept beach, Vitali Mourzakhanov arrived at a playground with his 2-year-old daughter on a bicycle with training wheels.
He was relieved to see it closed.
“I think it’s long overdue, people don’t sanitize the swings,” said Mr. Mourzakhanov, 43, a steamfitter.
The city’s decision, he said, made his job as a parent easier.
“Now, it’s locked, it’s closed,” he said. “So no crying.”
In trying times, A.A. members seek virtual refuge.
For many members of Alcoholics Anonymous, meetings are about bodies in space — hugs, pats on backs and a tissue every now and then.
But a quarantine is a trying time. And as “people who can drink normally” — A.A. lingo for nonalcoholics — are stocking up on liquor (in New York, liquor stores are considered “essential businesses”), A.A. members are hellbent on keeping meetings going.
Though at least one New York City meeting stayed open a few days after the lockdown, its chairs spaced six feet apart, meetings are now convening on Zoom. And internet A.A., at first glance, is uncanny. Members make disclosures to a crowd of internet strangers who cannot, really, look one another in the eye.
“I have several hours clean,” one person said last week. “I need help.”
Many people who speak in meetings say they’re overwhelmed with relief to find the online gatherings in a difficult moment.
“Part of me wants to shut down, to make the world as small as my bed,” someone said the other day. “But in sobriety I find I can be of service to my mother — actually call, ask her about what interests her, make sure she’s OK.”
For people in the New York area who have respirator-type N95 masks or other medical-grade masks at home, there are several ways to get them to people who really need them right now: local medical workers.
Contact state agencies. In New York, the state Health Department has an online form that breaks down donated goods by category, including medical supplies. New Jersey residents are encouraged to use the state’s official donation portal. Connecticut residents with potential donations can also complete an online form.
Try nonprofit groups. The Afya Foundation in Yonkers, N.Y., for example, is seeking donated masks of all kinds.
Donate directly. If you know a medical worker personally, you can make direct contact to drop off medical masks. Priority should be given to emergency room doctors and other medical professionals who are likely to make contact with people who have been infected.
Catch up on Wednesday’s developments.
Here’s what happened yesterday:
Tristate Death Toll Passes 2,300: Another 491 people died of the virus in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, bringing the total for the region to 2,381.
De Blasio Requests Supplies: Mayor de Blasio stressed that for the coming weeks, New York City would need 400 additional ventilators and 3.3 million N95 masks.
Equipment Shortage for Doctors: Lacking proper equipment to treat patients, doctors may soon need to make hard choices about which patients to prioritize.
Donation from Apple: Wednesday night, Governor Cuomo said that Apple had donated 1.9 million masks to the state.
Are you a health care worker in the New York area? Tell us what you’re seeing.
As The New York Times follows the spread of the coronavirus across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, we need your help. We want to talk to doctors, nurses, lab technicians, respiratory therapists, emergency services workers, nursing home managers — anyone who can share what they are seeing in the region’s hospitals and other health care centers. Even if you haven’t seen anything yet, we want to connect now so we can stay in touch in the future.
A reporter or editor may contact you. Your information will not be published without your consent.
Reporting was contributed by Anne Barnard, Jonah Engel Bromwich, Alan Feuer, Michael Gold, Virginia Heffernan, Corey Kilgannon, Andy Newman, Andrea Salcedo, Nate Schweber, Michael Schwirtz and Matt Stevens.