Thursday, March 26, 2020

Gov. Cuomo Overplayed His Hand And In The Process Badly Played Himself

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo blasted FEMA during a press conference for sending 400 medical ventilators when his state needs 30,000. 

However, in 2015 the New York State Department of Health specifically studied the issue, warned about a critical lack of ventilators during a pandemic, and the New York Governor made a specific decision NOT to order them: [pdf link here]

sicsempertyrannis |   For the past week it appeared that NY Governor Cuomo realized it was more important to be an adult and eschew partisan politics. That was then. He is now in full partisan panic pandemonium. He is now accusing the Feds of dragging their feet in getting NYC 30,000 ventilators. 

Here is the quote:
"What are you doing sending 400 when I need 30,000 ventilators," Cuomo said. "You're missing the magnitude of the problem."

No Cuomo, you do not understand. For starters, you do not have 10,000 patients on a ventilator now. The number of patients who test positive does not mean that all will require a ventilator. The numbers available so far indicate most who test positive for corona virus are not being hospitalized. That means the numbers for ventilators are not going to skyrocket and immediately outstrip the existing capability.

But Cuomo is missing a more important point. Shame on him. He has a duty to help educate his constituency. Let us start with the production reality--you cannot magically produce ventilators overnight. The existing manufacturers have limited, not UNLIMITED, capabilities to expand production. Bringing other companies, like GM on line, will require about a month to retool and repurpose machinery and quality control techs.

Producing the machines is the easy part. It is the human infrastructure that is the problem. If there are 30,000 ventilators up and running then you need an additional 45,000 ICU qualified nurses and an additional 22,500 Respiratory Therapy Technicians. (I am assuming one ICU nurse can handle two patients per shift. There are three eight hour shifts per day. I am assuming that one Respiratory Therapy Tech can handle 8 ventilators per shift and there are three eight hour shifts per day).