(NATIONAL REVIEW) In March, one of the most feared aspects of the pandemic was the widely reported coming shortage of ventilators. One well-publicized estimate, repeated by the New York Times, the New Yorker and CNN, was that the U.S. would need roughly one million ventilators, or more than five times as many as we had. Gulp. Ventilators are expensive, they’re complex machines, and they can’t be churned out in the thousands overnight.
In the state that (as of today) has one-third of the country’s confirmed COVID-19 cases, New York governor Andrew Cuomo sounded the alarm for ventilators repeatedly. On March 27, he acknowledged “I don’t have a crystal ball” but said his state desperately needed 30,000 ventilators, maybe 40,000, but had only 12,000. When President Trump noted that Cuomo’s state had thousands of unused ventilators it hadn’t even placed yet, Cuomo admitted this was true but said he still needed more: “Yes, they’re in a stockpile because that’s where they’re supposed to be because we don’t need them yet. We need them for the apex,” Cuomo said at the time. On April 2, Cuomo predicted the state would run out of ventilators in six days “at the current burn rate.” But on April 6, Cuomo noted, “We’re ok, and we have some in reserve.”