Governor Cuomo Calls on Trump To Deploy Army Corps of Engineers To Fight COVID-19
March 15, 2020 (EIRNS)—In an op-ed in the New York Times and a press conference today, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called on President Donald Trump to “Mobilize the Military To Help Fight Coronavirus.”
“The time is growing short and fewer options are available. Using federal troops to help create hospital beds is one we should try,” Cuomo writes in the op-ed. “State and local governments alone simply do not have the capacity or resources to do what is necessary, and we don’t want a patchwork quilt of policies.”
Cuomo praised Trump’s efforts to expand testing by bypassing restrictions on Roach and others, but says he must do more in that direction, and: “don’t let bureaucracy get in the way of fighting this virus. Break the logjam, let states fully take over testing so they can unleash hundreds of labs tomorrow and bring testing to scale.”
He also calls for a “uniform federal standard for when cities and states should shut down commerce and schools, or cancel events,” rather than each state making such decisions.
But most important is his warning that
“without immediate action, the imminent failure of hospital systems is all but certain. According to one projection, as many as 214 million people in our country could be infected over the course of the epidemic. Of those, as many as 21 million people could require hospitalization. This would crush the nation’s medical system. New York State has just 53,470 hospital beds, only 3,186 of which are intensive-care beds. Our country as a whole has fewer than 1 million staffed hospital beds, fewer proportionately than China, South Korea or Italy.
“Ask your experts, how many intensive-care beds do we need for our vulnerable populations, and how many do we have now? The scarcity portends a greater failing and a worse situation than what we are seeing in Italy, where lives are being lost because the country doesn’t have the health care capacity.
“States cannot build more hospitals, acquire ventilators or modify facilities quickly enough. At this point, our best hope is to utilize the Army Corps of Engineers to leverage its expertise, equipment and people power to retrofit and equip existing facilities—like military bases or college dormitories—to serve as temporary medical centers. Then we can designate existing hospital beds for the acutely ill.”
He notes that the deployment of active duty Army Corps of Engineer (ACE) personnel “would not violate federal law because this is a national disaster.”
In his press conference, Cuomo said, “there is only one workforce—the Army Corps and its military assets—who can do this. They have the equipment, the manpower, the resources. The Army Corps of Engineers is amazing—I’ve worked with them.”
He continued: “China built dozens of hospitals in literally a month. How? The federal government came in and said, ‘We’re going to do it.’ Same thing in South Korea. The states cannot do it.”
The Governor concluded, addressing President Trump:
“I make these suggestions not as a Democrat but as one of the nation’s most senior governors and a former cabinet secretary who knows the capacity of the federal government. We have had disagreements about your actions against New York, which we can pursue at another time. Today, let’s work together as Americans. Time is short.”