New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday called on health-care workers across the United States to travel to New York to help the state battle the worst coronavirus outbreak in the nation.
“Help New York. We are the ones who are hit now,” Cuomo said at a press conference from New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Center, which was converted into a temporary hospital by the Army Corps of Engineers last week. The Javits Center will be used for non-COVID-19 patients to free up beds and medical supplies in other hospitals, he said.
Cuomo said the outbreak in New York isn’t an anomaly and will hit every part of the U.S.
“We’re the ones who are hit now. That’s today, but tomorrow it’s going to somewhere else, whether it’s Detroit, whether it’s New Orleans. It will work it’s way across the country,” the governor said.
“Anyone who says this situation is a ‘New York City only situation’ is in a state of denial. You see this virus move across the state, you see this virus move across the nation, there is no American who is immune to this virus. I don’t care if you live in Kansas. I don’t care if you live in Texas,” Cuomo said.
As of Sunday night, local health officials confirmed more than 33,400 confirmed COVID-19 cases in New York City alone — half the state’s 66,487 cases and almost a quarter of all cases in the U.S.
He said the state was dealing with the pandemic at a “level, intensity and density” that hasn’t been seen elsewhere and that lessons learned in New York can be applied elsewhere in the nation.
“In many ways New York is just a canary in the coal mine. What you see us going through here, you will see happening all across the country.”
New York is still scrambling to obtain necessary medical supplies. Earlier Monday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency confirmed it is sending refrigerator trucks to New York City to serve as temporary mortuaries for coronavirus victims. At least 1,218 people have died from the COVID-19 across the state, Cuomo said Monday.
Thomas Von Essen, the agency’s regional administrator, said the military has provided 42 people to the Manhattan Medical Examiner’s Office where there is a “desperate need” for help in the Queens borough.
Earlier in the day, Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio welcomed the arrival of a Navy hospital ship that will relieve New York hospitals dealing with a rapidly expanding load of coronavirus patients.
The USNS Comfort will provide roughly 1,000 hospital beds, and 1,200 personnel to New York, Cuomo said on Twitter. It will be used to treat patients who don’t have COVID-19 to free up other hospital rooms for coronavirus patients, the governor has previously said.