ALBANY, N.Y. — In a news conference Sunday morning, Governor Andrew Cuomo called on the federal government to nationalize the medical supply chain.
Cuomo says the federal government should be in charge of contracting and acquiring medical supplies because states are currently competing against each other to get the things they need. In order to stop a bidding war, the governor is asking the federal government to immediately utilize the Defense Production Act to order companies to make gowns, masks, ventilators, and gloves.
To further assist those who need medical assistance, the governor is telling hospitals in New York State to increase their capacity by 100 percent. Cuomo says the state is waiving regulations that would normally prohibit adding more beds.
Cuomo says hospitals must expand their capacity by a minimum of 50 percent with a goal of 100 percent. Hospitals must also cancel elective surgeries by Wednesday to increase available beds.
"This is not about money. This is about public health," Cuomo said.
New York State currently has 15,168 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 4,812 are new cases as of Sunday morning. Of the total cases, 1,974 people are currently hospitalized, which is about 13 percent, according to Cuomo.
At this time 114 people have died from COVID-19 in New York State. Cuomo says research thus far indicates 70 percent of the New Yorkers who died were 70 years old or older, and the majority had underlying health conditions. He added that about 80 percent of the deaths involving people under 70 years old were people who had an underlying health condition.
The governor says 40 to 80 percent of the population will get the coronavirus, but the current goal is the flatten the curve.
Currently, downstate New York is the most heavily impacted area.
Govenor Cuomo is asking recently retired medical professionals who want to help during the pandemic to click here and sign up and help fight COVID-19.