By SAMANTHA CASTRO
Mayor de Blasio warned on Thursday that the city could possibly run out of coronavirus testing kits and necessary medical supplies in about three weeks unless the federal government stepped in.
As confirmed cases of COVID-19 skyrocketed to over 4,000 in New York City, de Blasio called for dire help from the federal government during his Thursday press conference.
“I’m just asking our federal government to do its job,” said de Blasio. “Help all of us… We need everything that the military can bring to bare.”
He sent out two letters: one to the United States Secretary of Health and Human Resources Alex Azar; the other to United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie. In the letter to Wilkie, he requested from the Veteran Administration Facilities in New York City all their available beds and medical personal to “be activated immediately to serve in the cause of fighting the coronavirus.”
“They stand ready to help but they need the order from these two secretaries to provide maximum support to NYC,” said de Blasio.
In the letter to Azar, he sent a list of supplies needed by early April for healthcare systems in New York City to fight COVID-19. The supplies on the list ranged from 50 million surgical masks to 25 million sets of gloves. He mentioned despite the numbers being “extraordinary” they are “achievable” through the federal government. According to de Blasio, the current amount of medical equipment the city has will last for a maximum of three weeks. He claimed that the U.S. military is the fastest organization to send out those supplies.
He cast blame for the lack of help from the federal government on President Trump. De Blasio explained the actions needed to help New York City has to be ordered by the president. Despite Trump invoking the Defense Production Act on March 18, de Blasio still criticized him for the lack of action earlier, calling him “the Herbert Hoover” of his generation.
Through the act, the president can authorize human and health services to order manufacturers to provide materials and services to help in the effort. This includes the usage of their private services for manufacturing “needed” items. However, as the mayor noted, “the president has not ordered any of these subsequent actions.”
“The fate of New York City rests in the hands of one man,” said de Blasio referring to President Trump. “He is a New Yorker. And right now, he is betraying the city he comes from.”