New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the $2 Trillion stimulus bill aimed at easing the economic impact of the coronavirus that was passed by the Senate late Wednesday evening is “reckless” that “failed to address the governmental need.”
“The Congressional action, in my opinion, simply failed to address the governmental need,” Cuomo said Thursday morning at a state Capitol news conference. “I find it irresponsible. I find it reckless.”
Under the Senate stimulus bill, known as the CARES Act, New York state government will receive $5 billion, but it is earmarked only for coronavirus expenses. Cuomo pointed out that the anticipated loss of revenue for the state is estimated to be somewhere between $10 and $15 billion.
The $5 billion for New York under the stimulus package, according to Cuomo “did not help local governments, or state governments, and it did not address the governmental loss.”
“It does absolutely nothing for us in terms of lost revenue to the state,” Cuomo said. “The only thing it’s doing is helping us on the COVID virus expenses – which is nice, but the bigger problem is on the lost revenues.”
With the state budget plan for the fiscal year due next week on April 1, the governor said the state will now have to adjust its budget plan because revenue figures are so uncertain. New York has already spent $1 billion as it scrambles to respond to the deadly outbreak.
“I was shocked that they were so irresponsible in addressing the state and the city need,” Cuomo said “I never believed that they would just pass a piece of legislation that didn’t address it. They just did not address the revenue shortfall. They provided money for COVID, the amount of money we spent on the virus, but they did nothing on the revenue loss.”
The governor said he would give congressional leaders, specifically those representing New York “a piece of my mind” after the coronavirus outbreak has passed, but now he’s focused on the pandemic response.
“I’m disappointed,” Cuomo said. “I find it irresponsible. I find it reckless. Emotion is a luxury. And we don’t have the luxury at this time of being emotional about what they, the Congress did. When this is over, I promise you I’m going to give them a piece of my mind.”
“This was the time for Congress to put politics aside and partisanship aside,” Cuomo added. “Now is a time to actually step up, do the right thing, and do your job. And they haven’t as far as I’m concerned, especially when it comes to the governmental need.”
New York has become the nation’s epicenter of the pandemic. The state has seen 385 deaths from COVID-19 as of Thursday morning up from 285 the day before and that number is expected to continue to rise, Cuomo said.
Cuomo said as of Thursday, the number of confirmed cases shot up to 37,258 people, comprising more than half of the total number of cases in the nation, with 5,327 hospitalized, 1,290 people in ICU, and 1,517 patients discharged.
As of Wednesday, New York was performing 25% of the coronavirus testing nationwide, and more per capita when compared to China and South Korea, according to the governor. To date, 122,104 people have been tested in New York and on Wednesday alone, the state performed 18,650 tests.
“As of yesterday, about 25% of all testing nationwide has been performed by New York state,” Cuomo reiterated.
The governor said the state confirmed cases is projecting to climb up to 140,000 over the next two to three weeks and that as patients in New York were staying on ventilators longer with most of them dying from complications caused by the coronavirus. Continuing to make ventilators a priority, he stated coronavirus patients who are in the ICU are on a ventilator for 11 to 20 days on average.
“This is the really bad news,” Cuomo said. “We now have people who have been on a ventilator for 20 days, 30 days. The longer you are on a ventilator. The more likely you’re not going to come off the ventilator and that is what is happening, because we do have people who have been on for quite a period of time. And those are the people who we are losing.”
He said the state government has approved a method to “split” ventilators, allowing two patients to be on one device at a time. It is also looking to convert anesthesia machines into ventilators.
Until the outbreak is under control, Cuomo said officials are focused on reducing not the number of cases but the rate of increase, so hospitals don’t run out of beds.
“This is all about getting that curve down and not overwhelming the hospital system,” he said.