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Coronavirus curve in NY is growing, Cuomo warns hospitals desperately need ventilators

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Posted at 11:24 AM, Mar 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-24 11:58:19-04

NEW YORK — Despite statewide efforts to combat the spread ofcoronavirus, the rate of new infections is doubling every three days, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The governor, speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, said the new data means the number of hospital beds needed to meet the peak of the outbreak's so-called curve has increased from 110,000 to 140,000. There are currently about 53,000 hospital beds available in New York.

Additionally, the peak of the curve is estimated to be about 14 to 21 days away — sooner than initially predicted, according to Cuomo.

“We haven't flattened the curve and the curve is actually increasing,” the governor said. “The apex is higher than we thought and the apex is sooner than we thought.”

In order to meet the new curve apex, Cuomo said increased hospital capacity, staffing, ventilators and personal protective equipment is desperately needed.

The state has obtained about 7,000 ventilators and another 400 were promised from FEMA. Cuomo estimated hospitals need an additional 30,000 ventilators.

The governor called on the federal government to provide them as well as personal protective equipment such as N95 masks and gowns.

"It will be the difference between life and death," he said. “We need federal help and we need federal help now."

The lack of ventilators has forced hospitals and health officials to become resourceful. State health officials are working on an experiment that splits one ventilator between two patients.

Cuomo called on President Donald Trump to use the federal Defense Production Act to manufacture ventilators. When New York passes the peak of its curve and the demand for ventilators decreases, Cuomo said he would deliver them to the state with the next largest outbreak.

The state saw a 4,790 increase in new coronavirus cases overnight, with the total jumping to 25,665 on Tuesday. Of those, 14,904 cases are in New York City. About 24% of the total cases — 3,234 — are hospitalized.