NEW YORK - As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases keeps climbing, officials say resources are diminishing. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is two to three weeks away from running out of medical supplies during a news conference Thursday — a sentiment that seems to be shared by health care workers we spoke to.
“We're in dire need of masks like I can only wear one surgical mask for an entire day of work and I worked for 14 hours today," said one health care worker.
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De Blasio emphasized the city has enough supplies to last through March, but is calling on the federal government to mandate production and replenish these resources before April. He specifically said the city needs - three million N-95 masks, 50 million surgical masks and 15,000 ventilators.
“This is one of the greatest emergencies our nation has faced in generations. Every tool must be brought to bare," De Blasio said.
The mayor also said the city needs more personal protective equipment for first responders and healthcare workers, including millions of surgical gowns, cover-alls, gloves, and face masks each.
“We are short on supplies but we’re doing the best we can in terms of safety I think we’re all trying to push through with positive vibes.”
President Donald Trump invoked the Defense Production Act this week which would require American industries to ramp up production in order to meet a national security need - such as medical supplies. However, Trump has yet to actually execute the act saying it’s not yet necessary. But the State Nurses Association tells NY1 supplies are critically low, and if nurses are not properly equipped, they run a heightened risk of infection, leaving the community even more vulnerable.
The mayor also made a public plea during his briefing for retired health care workers to step up and help if they can. If you're interested in doing so, visit nyc.gov/helpnownyc.