Politico: NY Bought More Covid-19 Ventilators Than Needed, Now They’re Just Collecting Dust

During the beginning of the pandemic, one of the biggest “needs” according to government officials like then-NYC Gov. Andrew Cuomo was ventilators.

The narrative was set: people are going to die if they do not have access to ventilators. 

According to a new report from Politico, places like New York “never procured anywhere close to what it supposedly needed” when it came to ventilators.

“When New York became the U.S. epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo scoured the globe for life-saving equipment as the daily death toll in the state approached 800,” Politico reported.

If you remember, Cuomo notoriously demanded access to “as many as 40,0000” ventilators. But just a few short years after purchasing 8,555 for millions, he failed to properly use them. 

Put differently, Cuomo freaked out, blurted out a desperate need that was overreaching. It was not a well-calculated response for the spread of COVID-19.

More from Politico:

The state acquired 8,555 ventilators at a cost of $166 million and 1,179 X-ray machines for $86.4 million, state officials told POLITICO this month. 

And now they’re stacked in warehouses across New York with no plans to distribute them or put them to any immediate use; Covid treatments have largely moved away from ventilators, and hospitals say they have plenty available to deal with their immediate needs.

A spokesperson for Cuomo argued that he saw this public backlash coming: “We always said the pendulum will swing the other way and critics would say there was too much in reserve.”

“Given the option where lives were on the line, we’d do the same thing,” he added. “And — in preparation for the next global supply chain shredding pandemic — there needs to be enough medical equipment on hand.”

Though Cuomo’s move did not pan out well two years later, some are defending the need for ventilators at the time. Saying it was the best pandemic response option available given the information at hand during the beginning months of the pandemic.

Eventually, ventilators were found to cause “more harm than good in a lot of cases” according to Brooks Gump, a Syracuse University professor of public health.

It’s crazy to think how much damage was done and money lost because of the poor response from elected officials who ignored the science for power hungry optics.

There’s a lesson to be learned in this poor decision making.

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