Coronavirus: New York will run out of ventilators within six days, governor warns

'If a person comes in and needs a ventilator and you don't have one, the person dies,' Governor Andrew Cuomo says

Danielle Zoellner
Thursday 02 April 2020 18:09 BST
Andrew Cuomo says New York state has a 'six day' ventilator stockpile

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has warned the state could run out of its ventilator stockpile in the next six days depending on how many Covid-19 positive patients need the machines. 

The number of ventilators available in the state and nationwide has become a concern when treating coronavirus patients, as the virus tends to attack the upper respiratory system. 

Based on the current "burn rate" of ventilators in New York, the state has anticipated it will run out in six-days time. 

The government released 400 ventilators to New York City on Wednesday and another 200 ventilators between Long Island and Westchester. These ventilators go towards patients in the ICU, which means they need the equipment to help them breathe. 

With a deadline now of six days for ventilators left, this means New York has reached a point where it needs equipment currently available, not ones that are in the process of being created by companies like GE and Ford. 

"If that rate continues, in our stock pile we have about six days," Mr Cuomo said on Thursday. "If the apex increases, if the apex is longer, we have an issue with ventilators."

"If a person comes in and needs a ventilator and you don't have one, the person dies. That's the blunt equation here," he added. 

The governor said the state was working on "extraordinary measures" to handle the ventilator problem before the stockpile burns out. These measures included looking for more ventilators around the world that are available for purchase. 

Other extraordinary measures were using anaesthesia machines as ventilators and "splitting" the ventilator tubes so two patients can use one machine at once, Mr Cuomo added. The state was also looking into converting BiPAP machines to be used as ventilators.

To date, New York has received 4,400 ventilators from the federal government and does not anticipate the national stockpile will be able to fix the need in the state.

"The federal government is very aware of our situation. I don't think the federal government is in the position to provide ventilators to the extent needed by the nation," Mr Cuomo said. "I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't have enough in their stockpile to provide for the communities that need them."

Coronavirus cases rose in New York to more than 92,381 infections, nearly 52,000 of them in New York City. The death toll also increased with 2,373 people dying from the novel virus, as of Thursday.

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