With the city expecting to see its highest numbers of coronavirus cases next week, Mayor Bill de Blasio is sounding an alarm, calling for a draft-like recruitment of medical personnel from around the country as the city continues to battle the ongoing coronavirus health crisis.
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De Blasio has described the city’s response to the virus as "war-like," saying government should assume a "wartime mentality" in order to respond. He has repeatedly called on President Donald Trump to deploy the military, saying its massive medical and logistical apparatus is badly needed in order to coordinate the response in New York.
"It's time for the commander-in-chief to give the order. If we're fighting a war, let's act like it. Right now, there's peacetime approach in Washington, and that won't cut it," de Blasio said Friday during his daily briefing at City Hall.
Health care workers that are not part of the military are often considered "first responders," but they are not typically beholden to service in the way that police officers, firefighters and EMTs are.
De Blasio has said the city not only has a massive need for medical equipment, but also medical personnel that can operate the equipment.
"I am urging the president to do something no president has had to do in our modern history: to create an enlistment effort for our medical personnel all over the country, and to ensure that our military are not left on their bases but are brought to the front," de Blasio said.
As of Friday, de Blasio said the city needs 15,000 ventilators, 45,000 clinical staff and 85,000 hospital beds, including 20,000 intensive care unit beds.
In order to get through the coming week, de Blasio said a minimum of 2,500 to 3,000 ventilators will be needed the week of April 5.
The mayor said he is also signing an executive order granting the NYPD and the Sheriff’s Department the power to seize medical equipment that is going unused. The order comes days after health officials have asked other medical professionals such as plastic surgeons and veterinarians to donate their ventilators.
Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a similar order on Friday, saying anyone who has their medical equipment seized will be reimbursed and their equipment replaced.
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