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New York went from demanding Trump send 40,000 ventilators to now giving them away as need decreases



Karla Ann Cote/NurPhoto via Getty Images

New York is giving ventilators away to other states that need them, reflecting how much the state's coronavirus outbreak has evolved over the past few weeks, and how dramatically data models overestimated the severity of the outbreak.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said this week that the state is giving 100 ventilators to Michigan and 50 to Maryland.

"We've stabilized our health care situation. New York had one of the earlier curves. There are other places in this country that are now seeing increases in the death rate," Cuomo said Wednesday during his daily press briefing.

Trump vs. Cuomo: In late March, Cuomo sounded the alarm that the state would need 30,000 to 40,000 ventilators from the federal government in order to meet the demand of seriously or critically ill COVID-19 patients.

"What am I going to do with 400 ventilators? When I need 30,000," Cuomo said March 24, after the federal government sent 400 ventilators to New York. "You pick the 26,000 people who are going to die because you only sent 400 ventilators."

President Donald Trump disagreed with Cuomo's estimate.

"I have a feeling that a lot of the numbers that are being said in some areas are just bigger than they're going to need," Trump said on Fox News on March 26. "I don't believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You know, you go to major hospitals, sometimes they have two ventilators. Now all of a sudden they're saying can we order 30,000 ventilators."

Cuomo came back the next day with an even larger request.

"All the predictions say you could have an apex needing 140,000 beds and about 40,000 ventilators," Cuomo said on March 27. "I don't have a crystal ball. Everybody's entitled to their own opinion, but I don't operate here on opinion. I operate on facts and on data and on numbers and on projections."

Ever-changing projections: The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation model from the University of Washington showed the peak ventilator need in New York as April 8, when fewer than 6,000 ventilators were estimated to be needed. Since then, the need has decreased.

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