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China donates ventilators to New York as virus death toll mounts

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Via Financial Times


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The Chinese government has donated a thousand ventilators to New York after the state warned it would run out of the equipment within a week as the death toll from coronavirus continued to climb.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo said the ventilators were due to arrive from China on Saturday, when the number of cases in the state rose to 113,704, with 3,565 deaths. Both Mr Cuomo and Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York City, recently warned that the state’s supply of ventilators could be exhausted within six days.

“By the numbers, we’re not yet at the apex,” Mr Cuomo warned at his daily press conference on Saturday.

“There’s a part of me that says it’s good that we’re not at the apex because we’re not yet ready for the apex . . . We’re still working on the capacity of the system.”

He warned that Long Island was now an area where the virus was spreading rapidly.

Globally, there have been 1.14m cases of coronavirus confirmed and more than 61,900 people known to have died from the virus. There are now more than 297,000 confirmed cases in the US and more than 7,800 coronavirus-related fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins medical centre.

Mr Cuomo thanked Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce company, and its co-founder, Joseph Tsai, for their help in securing the ventilators from China. New York had contracted for 17,000 ventilators from China but received about 2,500 of them amid fierce competition from other US states and the federal government. New York will receive another 140 ventilators donated by the state of Oregon.

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“We do not have the supplies we need,” Chuck Schumer, the senate minority leader from New York told CNN.

“The governor, the mayor, they’re reaching out all over the place, all over the country and all over the world to get what they need. But just in the last day, I heard from hospitals who didn’t have ventilators. Police officers who don’t have masks . . . The system that the federal government has put in place is not working, plain and simple. It’s not adequate,” Mr Schumer said.

On Friday, the US rolled out its $350bn rescue programme to help small businesses affected by the crisis. However, already there are signs that pool of money may not be enough.

On Saturday, Mr Trump said he would ask Congress to allocate more money for small businesses that were not able to receive loans from that initial programme.

“I will immediately ask Congress for more money to support small businesses under the #PPPloan if the allocated money runs out,” the president tweeted on Saturday morning. “So far, way ahead of schedule.”

Mr Trump’s tweet echoed comments made earlier in the week by Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, who warned on Wednesday that the programme was likely to be “so popular” that demand for loans would exceed the initial allocation.

“If that’s the case, I can assure you that will be top of the list for me to go back to Congress on. It has huge bipartisan support and we want to protect small business,” Mr Mnuchin told CNBC.

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