Albany – New York will receive more than 1,100 respirators from China and Oregon, said state governor Andrew Cuomo said on Saturday. The Chinese government and billionaires Jack Ma and Joseph Tsai, co-founders of the Alibaba online marketplace, facilitated a donation of 1,000 respirators due to arrive in the afternoon. The state of Oregon offered to send another 140 machines, he added.
“It is going to be an important difference for us,” said the Democratic governor. Cuomo had said Thursday that the state would deplete its supply of respirators in six days if the number of critically ill patients continued to increase at the current rate.
New York is the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States, with more than 113,700 confirmed cases on Saturday morning. Deaths in the state exceed 3,500 and there are 15,000 coronavirus patients in hospitals. Of these, 4,100 are in intensive care and many, if not all, need respirators.RELATED
Governors across the United States plead, compete, and scour the global market for respirators and other items needed to treat the sick.
Cuomo said Saturday that his state submitted purchase orders for 17,000 respirators and received just 2,500. “They called us to say, ‘We cannot fulfill that request,'” he said.
Cuomo said Friday that he would order the redistribution of hundreds of respirators so that hospitals in the north of the state send 20% of the unused devices – an estimated 500 – to the New York City metropolitan area, the most affected by the pandemic.
The governor said that the National Guard troops would collect the devices.
The plan caused alarm among Republicans and some hospital directors, who said it would endanger local residents and pit different regions of the state against each other.
Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, also a Democrat, said last week that the federal government agreed to send about 2,400 respirators to the city and 2,000 to the state. Both have repeatedly implored help to Washington.