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White House Working with Governors in Growing National Unity, To Fight Pandemic

March 16, 2020 (EIRNS)—There is increasing tendency to national unity in facing the coronavirus pandemic. It is manifest in rising cooperation between the Trump White House, and its task force, and governors of many states from both parties; and in legislative negotiation and cooperation between the White House and both parties in Congress. The President, at today’s Task Force press conference this afternoon, said “If everyone makes this change or these critical changes and sacrifices now, we will rally together as one nation and we will defeat the virus.  And we’re going to have a big celebration all together.”  New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo described his suggestions to the White House at his press conference today, and declared: “I often tell you when I am unhappy with the federal response to this state. The fairness dictates that kudos where kudos are due, and here the Vice President and the President responded very quickly, so I want to thank them for that.”

But a critical physical-economic issue has yet to be addressed in purposeful terms. That is: building the additional hospital and public health capacity we must have to handle “the worst,” which Dr. Anthony Fauci says is coming; or falling into triage of which patients to treat and not others—which must not occur.

Every expert and leader, from Cuomo to HHS Secretary Alex Azar to NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, says the same thing: “Flatten the curve” of the epidemic or it will overwhelm the hospital system. This means “Slow the spread of the virus to a rate that the healthcare system can manage,” as Cuomo put it March 15. But as he acknowledged, that may not happen: “We have never fought a virus like this with this potential consequence.” Governor Cuomo pointed out, “The overwhelming crush is going to be on the ICU beds....” At his March 16 press conference Cuomo was more explicit: In New York, “We don’t have the billions of dollars that you would need to implement an immediate emergency hospital construction program. This state can’t do it. No state can do it.”

In his open letter to President Trump, Cuomo called for 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.”

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