Headlines for March 27, 2020

With intensive care beds and life-saving ventilators increasingly in short supply, Mayor Bill de Blasio pleaded for federal authorities to ship an additional 15,000 of the life-saving devices — half of the 30,000 he says are needed to keep critically ill patients breathing.

Mayor Bill de Blasio: “If you have a ventilator, you can save a life; you can keep someone going, get them through this crisis so they can recover. If you don’t have a ventilator, people die who didn’t need to die. It’s as simple as that.”

Some New York City hospitals have begun splitting ventilators to allow two patients to use a single device, as nurses fear a looming shortage will soon force them to decide who lives and who dies.

New York officials are pleading with the White House to use the Defense Production Act to order companies to manufacture ventilators and other critically needed medical equipment, but President Trump has refused, saying business leaders have promised to meet the challenge without government intervention.

The New York Times reports the White House canceled an agreement with General Motors and Ventec Life Systems to produce up to 80,000 desperately needed ventilators, over concerns about the project’s $1 billion price tag — or about 0.05% of the cost of the coronavirus relief bill.

On Thursday, President Trump said he doubted New York’s urgent request for 30,000 ventilators was merited. Trump was speaking on Fox News.

President Donald Trump: “I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You know, you go into major hospitals, sometimes they’ll have two ventilators. And now, all of a sudden, they’re saying, ‘Can we order 30,000 ventilators?’”

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