Thursday, April 9, 2020

The White House will cut funding for coronavirus testing sites

All Things Considered

Some local officials are disappointed the federal government will end funding for coronavirus testing sites this Friday. In a few places those sites will close as a result. This as criticism continues that not enough testing is available.

In the Philadelphia suburbs, Montgomery County has a drive-through site that has tested 250 people a day since March 21.

"It has been a very successful site. We are hoping by the time it closes Friday afternoon that we will have tested a little over 5,000 individuals," says Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, who chairs the commission in the county of more than 825,000 people.

Montgomery County has been hit hard by the pandemic. By Tuesday the county identified 1,294 positive cases and reported 32 COVID-19-related deaths.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services tells NPR, "Many of the Community-Based Testing Sites (CBTS) are not closing, but rather transitioning to state-managed sites on or about April 10."

The agency and a spokesperson for FEMA say the CBTS program originally included 41 sites. It was intended as a stop-gap to bring testing to critical locations, especially for health care facility workers and first responders.

"The transition will ensure each state has the flexibility and autonomy to manage and operate testing sites within the needs of their specific community and to prioritize resources where they are needed the most," the HHS spokesperson said.

Warehouse-styled city homeless shelter building is causing worry among it's residents about getting coronavirus


NY Post

A Manhattan homeless shelter has kicked coronavirus precautions out into the street.
The shelter at 127 W. 25th St. has made social distancing impossible by packing 25 people into each of two dormitory rooms on nearly a dozen floors, residents of the facility told The Post.
As many as 40 people are packed into the lunchroom, with “people literally standing shoulder to shoulder.”
Two residents told The Post that at least nine people have been removed from the shelter with COVID-19 symptoms, making them “sitting ducks for the virus.”
Photos obtained by the paper from inside the facility show sleeping cubicles lined up in rows with little room in between, and people standing in tight lines for food.
And they show trash and even clothing was strewn about in unsanitary conditions — making hygiene a challenge, the residents said.
“Just walking in the building you’re bound to catch coronavirus,” one resident said. “We’ll know when they put on the hazmat suits to pack up the other people’s belongings.”
They aired their worries as the coronavirus hits the Big Apple’s homeless population hard. Officials reported Wednesday that 274 New Yorkers who live in shelter, on the streets or in temporary housing have tested positive for virus.
Fourteen have died.
The Department of Homeless Services has begun housing hundreds of homeless people in five city hotels in a bid to slow the pandemic’s spread, The Post revealed earlier this week.
One the shelter’s tenants said he remained “incredibly, incredibly concerned about staying there.”
“They don’t come through here, they don’t clean anything,” he said. “We clean ourselves here, but how can we stop a virus without disinfectant?”

There is no privacy at that building, no wonder thousands would rather sleep on the streets and trains

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

COVID-19's Contractor Gadget


City Hall’s frantic hunt for protective masks and medical equipment to combat coronavirus led officials to sign emergency contracts totaling nearly $119 million with a firm run by a major donor to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s failed presidential campaign.

Digital Gadgets LLC, a New Jersey-based wholesaler of hoverboards and other electronic devices to QVC and similar TV outlets, entered into three contracts with the Department of Citywide Administrative Services between March 25 and March 28, city contract records show.

The first payment of $9.1 million came the following Tuesday — representing 10% of a total $91 million agreed to for “procurement of respirators and breathing kits” through the end of June. One order of two million N95 masks comes at a price of $8 million, or $4 a mask.

The Digital Gadgets deal arrived in the midst of a bidding war among cities, states, and nations around the globe for personal protective gear and was well within range of prices on offer at the time.

Before March 25, Digital Gadgets had never appeared in the city comptroller’s decade-old CheckbookNYC tracking system.

Digital Gadgets’ website features a pop-up box: “If you are inquiring about our COVID-19 PPE please click on button below,” followed by an email address.

Company CEO Charlie Tebele and family members made donations totaling $32,000 to de Blasio’s now-abandoned campaign for the Democratic nomination for president and related political action committees, state and federal records show. Tebele and family members also contributed at least $12,750 to de Blasio’s 2017 reelection campaign.

Tebele, who owns a Manhattan townhouse residence on East 61st Street, and Digital Gadgets did not respond to multiple emails and phone calls from THE CITY.

de Blasio's an idiot savant. He may not know shit about preparing for a crisis and evidently leading a city during one, but his brain cells get energized the second an opportunity comes up to make sure anyone who gave him money immediately gets a cherry contract with the city.




Daily Mail

 The coronavirus death toll in New York City hit more than 4,000 Wednesday morning. 

On Tuesday evening deaths had risen by 806 to 3,544 in just 24 hours. The figure is almost double the number of deaths recorded Monday in the country's coronavirus epicenter. 

The nationwide death toll rose by almost 2,000 yesterday - America's deadliest day from the virus yet - and currently stands at 12,953.  

 City transit needs to be shut down too.

At least 41 MTA workers have died from coronavirus and 1,500 have tested positive, the MTA chairman announced on Tuesday as the New York City death toll surpassed 4,000. 

Transit workers are among those who are deemed essential employees and are still required to go to work despite the ongoing pandemic.

Many have told of their frustration at members of the public not taking the threat seriously and some have even died after sharing their concerns.

Chairman and CEO Patrick J. Foye said on Wednesday during an interview with WCBS 880: 'We mourn the loss of every one of our 41 colleagues.' 

Foye is among those who has tested positive for the virus. 

'I happen to be one of those, but the real loss is the grieving that we're doing at the MTA and the families of the 41 MTA colleagues who have been killed by the virus,' he said.   

The MTA has give workers 300,000 N-95 masks and 160,000 surgical masks since March 1.

Mayor de Blasio stands surrounded by soldiers to protect him from his constituents cries

NY Post

Three livid bystanders heckled Mayor Bill de Blasio — demanding coronavirus tests and better healthcare — as he tried to speak to medical personnel outside Lincoln Hospital in The Bronx Wednesday.

“Yo, de Blasio; I need a test, de Blasio!,” shouted a young man from behind a fence outside Lincoln Hospital, about 40 feet from where the mayor was thanking members of the US Air Force, who were deployed to the public hospital to help treat coronavirus patients.

“I need a test brother. Some people right here need a test. Where they at? Seriously I see you addressing these people what about these homeless right here,” the man yelled, pointing to a crowd outside the hospital.

“All these people right here are sick. Ain’t nobody addressing them,” he screamed.
The group was furious about the dramatic shortage of tests in New York City, a problem plaguing communities across the country — and one that experts chalk up to a series of missteps made by federal officials during the early days of the pandemic.

Legislation is being drawn to suspend evictions for the rest of the year


 Responding to dire predictions that thousands of New Yorkers, unable to make rent because of COVID-19, could soon wind up on the street, a group of state lawmakers want to block landlords from evicting tenants until the end of the year.

The new legislation would extend Governor Andrew Cuomo's moratorium on evictions, which is set to expire on June 18th, for an additional six months from when the State of Emergency is declared over.

"That moratorium, while welcome, is not enough," Manhattan Senator Brad Hoylman, who introduced the legislation on Tuesday, told Gothamist. "We have to create this safe harbor to give tenants time to get back on their feet."

The bill would ensure tenants cannot be removed from their homes for unpaid rent for the duration of the public health crisis. It would not suspend rent altogether, as other state lawmakers have proposed, and would still allow landlords to sue delinquent tenants for monetary judgements.

But housing attorneys said the bill is a critical first step in addressing a looming evictions crisis that Cuomo has largely waved off.

"Without any state action, there are going to be New Yorkers across the state who will be unable to pay their rent, and very soon the courts are going to reopen and the cases will start piling up," said Ellen Davidson, a staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society. "This is a step in the right direction to ensure we don't end up with hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers in the street at a moment when coronavirus is wreaking havoc on the homeless population."

Expert predict that as many as 40 percent of New York tenants may be forced to skip April rent payments, as COVID-19 containment measures have pushed unemployment to historic levels. Bronx Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, who introduced a companion bill in the State Assembly, said that tenants who'd lost income during the pandemic were now facing "a ticking time bomb."

For his part, Cuomo has repeatedly insisted the "rent issue" was solved through the three-month eviction moratorium. He has declined to support a bill with bipartisan support that would cancel rent payments and provide relief to landlords as well.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

de Blasio acknowledges overlooked higher amount of deaths from coronavirus.

NY Daily News

Mayor de Blasio once again refused to detail the city’s capacity to handle the bodies of coronavirus victims – and admitted officials are also likely undercounting the number of people who have died during the pandemic.

The mayor said Tuesday he assumes most people in New York City who have died at home in recent weeks without being tested or treated for COVID-19 likely had the deadly disease.

“I am assuming the vast majority of those deaths are coronavirus related,” de Blasio said at a briefing. “It’s understandable in a crisis that being able to make the confirmation is harder to do with all the resources stretched so thin…The first use of all of everything we’ve got – our professionals, our health care workers, our resources – the first thing we are focused on is saving the next life.”

The city reported 3,202 people have died of COVID-19 as of Tuesday morning, a 29.37% jump from the 2,475 deaths logged just 24 hours before, according to the city Health Department.
The medical examiner’s office has enough space in borough-based morgues for about 800 to 900 bodies during normal times.

Officials said this capacity has expanded significantly since the pandemic began – with 80 mobile refrigerated trucks and a temporary morgue tent. Hospitals also have morgues.

But the medical examiner’s office won’t say how much space the city currently has for the bodies of coronavirus victims. De Blasio has also repeatedly refused to discuss how the city will handle a surge in bodies as the death toll rapidly climbs in the next weeks.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Homeless hotels have hundreds of positive COVID-19 cases, but the city wouldn't reveal where they are

NY Post

The city is housing hundreds of homeless people with coronavirus or symptoms of the virus at five Big Apple hotels, sources told The Post.

City officials confirmed that more than 700 spots have been set aside for afflicted homeless people at five undisclosed locations throughout the city, but didn’t say where.

According to the source, however, all five are hotels.

Staffers at two of the locations — a Howard Johnson’s at 235 24th Street in Brooklyn, and Town Place Suites at 38-42 11th Street in Queens — told The Post they were no longer renting rooms to the public because they had been leased out to the city.

A woman answering the phone at the third side, the Radisson at 52 Williams St. in Manhattan, hung up on a reporter.

The telephone was not answered at the two other locations, identified by the source: a Comfort Inn at 548 W. 48th Street in Manhattan and Jamaica Hotel at 183-02 Jamaica Avenue in Queens, which is also identified as a Comfort Inn in some online posts.

There are currently 392 homeless people in isolation at the five sites who either tested positive for the virus or were placed in quarantine “out of an abundance of caution,” the city said.

The city Department of Social Services said 213 homeless people at 93 shelters have tested positive for the virus, with 11 dying from the bug and another 11 leaving after completing quarantine.

The city is considering burying coronavirus casualties in public parks

NY Post

A leading New York City lawmaker said Monday that officials may be forced to temporarily begin burying the city’s coronavirus victims in local parks — as morgues and hospitals struggle to keep up with the mounting death toll, a city councilman said Monday.

“Soon we’ll start ‘temporary interment’,” said Councilman Mark Levine (D-Manhattan) wrote in a series of tweets. “This likely will be done by using a NYC park for burials (yes you read that right). Trenches will be dug for 10 caskets in a line.”

“It will be done in a dignified, orderly–and temporary–manner. But it will be tough for NYers to take,” Levine wrote, adding in another tweet, “The goal is to avoid scenes like those in Italy, where the military was forced to collect bodies from churches and even off the streets.”

He later clarified his tweets, saying this “is a contingency NYC is preparing for BUT if the death rate drops enough it will not be necessary.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio was asked about the grim matter during a coronavirus press briefing Monday at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

“We may well be dealing with temporary burials, so we can deal with each family later,” the mayor said. We will have the capacity for temporary burials – that’s all I’m going to say.”

“I’m not going into details,” de Blasio said. “I don’t think it’s a great thing to be talking about.”

However, Hizzoner did mention city-owned Hart Island — the city’s longtime potter’s field and nation’s largest public burial ground, which sits just off The Bronx’s southeast coast in the Long Island Sound.

“We’re going to try and treat every family with dignity, respect religious needs of those who are devout, and the focus now is to try and get through this crisis and obviously also put all of our energy and resources into saving those we can save,” he added.

A spokeswoman for the city’s Medical Examiner’s office, Aja Worthy-Davis, told The Post there are no plans currently to begin temporary burials and that the freezers at agency facilities in Manhattan and Brooklyn have “adequate space.”

“We have no plans right now to bury anyone in city parks,” said Worthy-Davis, noting that the disturbing scenario is mentioned in a previous OCME disaster plan, but “it’s not in the works at this time.”

There is nothing dignified about this plan at all. Also undignified is the fact that this city did not did not prepare and was ill-equipped to handle a major emergency. 

Levine may be doing all the talking and tweeting about this, but this ghoulish idea has de Blasio's micromanaging style all over it.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Rikers Island convicts get tasked with burying the casualties of COVID-19

The Intercept

 New York City is offering prisoners at Rikers Island jail $6 per hour — a fortune by prison labor standards — and personal protective equipment if they agree to help dig mass graves on Hart Island, according to sources with knowledge of the offer. Avery Cohen, a spokesperson for the office of 

Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed the general arrangement, but said that it was not “Covid-specific,” noting that prisoners have been digging graves on Hart Island for years.

The offer is only being made to those with convictions, not those jailed before trial, as is generally the case. A memo sent to prisoners, according to a source who reviewed it, does not specify what the work on Hart Island will be, but the reference to PPE leaves little doubt. The offer comes as New York City continues to be the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, with 38,000 people infected and more than 914 dead so far. New York City owns and operates a public cemetery on Hart Island, which has long been maintained by prison labor. The island was identified as a potential resting place for a surge of bodies in the event of a pandemic by a 2008 report put together by the NYC Office of Chief Medical Examiner.

Hart Island, though, “has limited burial space,” the report noted, and “may not be able to accommodate a large influx of decedents requiring burial,” which the preparedness plan estimated at between 50,000 and 200,000 in a pandemic with a mortality rate of 2 percent in which 25 to 35 percent of the population is infected.

The city document proposed employing the Department of Defense’s “temporary mass internment method,” which places caskets 10 in a row, head to foot, so as not to stack them on top of each other. Hart Island is located off City Island in the Bronx. In 2008, Rikers prisoners were burying roughly 20 to 25 bodies per week there, the report found.



On the same day that Governor Andrew Cuomo indicated that New York State was nearing the grim apex of the coronavirus outbreak, New York City reported yet another surge in additional infections and deaths.

Data that the city’s Health Department through 5 p.m. on April 4 indicated that there were now a total of 60,850 infections and 2,254 deaths citywide. That represents an increase of 4,579 cases and 387 deaths over a 24-hour period.

An estimated 12,216 New Yorkers — or 20.9% of all coronavirus patients in the five boroughs — have been hospitalized, according to the city’s Health Department.

One-third of all coronavirus patients come from Queens, which has been the epicenter of New York City’s outbreak almost from the start. As of 5 p.m. April 4, the borough registered 20,371 cases.

School buses collect city revenue while collecting dust

NY Post

New York City is spending nearly $6 million a day during the coronavirus crisis for idled school buses, The Post has learned.

Under contracts with school-bus companies, the nation’s largest school system is obligated to pay 85% of the daily fees when schools are shut for snow or other emergencies, if the days are not made up later.

That comes to roughly $5.9 million a day for buses parked in lots while students learn from home. Normally, the city Department of Education spends close to $6.9 million a day to transport kids to public and private schools during the 180-day school year.

The DOE plans to keep paying the 85% of fees for mothballed buses, but seek other uses for them.

“This is an ever-changing situation and we intend to honor our contracts and continue to support the bus workforce while exploring ways to utilize these vehicles to serve the city during a crisis,” DOE spokeswoman Danielle Filson said in an email.

Yet three weeks after schools were closed — March 13 was the last day of classes — nothing has been done with the buses.

The cost is steadily rising. Schools are closed until at least April 20, but the city has cautioned that buildings might not reopen until the start of the next school year.

City officials budgeted $1.25 billion for school buses in the current school year, the city’s Independent Budget Office reports.

Schools are closed until at least April 20, but the city has cautioned that buildings might not reopen until the start of the next school year.                                                                                                                                                                        


Mayor de Blasio has avoided a health clinic CEO's charitable request to provide PPE supplies

NY Post

New York City is desperately pleading for healthcare workers and equipment for the fight against the coronavirus — but a local doctor who has offered his network of 600 beds and 100 physicians said city and state bureaucrats have ignored him.

Dr. Yan Katsnelson said he’s been trying for weeks to get the offices of Mayor Bill de Blasio, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the city and state health departments to take him up on his offer.

His 30 temporarily closed health clinics — equipped with 5,000-plus masks and oxygen machines — are collecting dust, he said, while overwhelmed local hospitals are forced to treat patients in hallways and waiting-room chairs.

“De Blasio said right now I will take beds anywhere and everywhere. What the hell is he talking about?” said Katsnelson, claiming his staff contacted City Hall “several times” in the last two weeks offering to take in COVID-19 patients or relieve hospitals of non-coronavirus patients.

“My CEO is desperate to offer a helping hand with our equipped medical facilities and physicians, [nurse practitioners] and [physician assistants],” a Katsnelson employee wrote in a March 19 email to city Health Department Assistant Commissioner Jennifer Rakeman, state Bureau of Communicable Disease Control director Daniel Kuhles, state Division of Epidemiology director Debra Blog, and others.

The employee also spoke briefly to de Blasio aide Freddi Goldstein later that day. She also contacted the governor’s office, said Katsnelson, a Chicago-based cardiovascular surgeon who owns a national network of vascular and fibroid clinics.

They haven’t heard back since mid-March.

“Telephone calls were made … voice mails were left and not returned,” the employee said of the city and state runaround.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Senior citizens left to rot by your city

Dear Crappy,
In recent days we have been made aware of a large number of seniors in desperate need of food. As more and more local stores and delis shut down, seniors have to travel further and further to find a grocery store, and even when one is open, there is a long line waiting outside. My husband runs a food pantry in Queens, and in normal (non-covid) times, only opens once a month. His pantry is on the 311 Emergency Food Provider list for our area (Elmhurst), and this past week he has been inundated with calls from agencies/social workers trying to find help for their clients, as well as desperate ppl calling for themselves because they have nowhere else to turn. Today my husband walked a shopping cart full of food to a 94-yr-old homebound lady 30 blocks away. My question, what is the city doing to try to help people in need of food, especially vulnerable seniors? At this point, Senior Services workers are calling volunteer once-monthly food pantries looking for help. Attached is a photo from 311’s web site. Should the seniors start waiting outside public school cafeterias for their pb&j or cheese sandwich?

de Blasio still will not raise EMT's wages despite working more in the epicenter of the pandemic
An emergency medical technician cleans and wipes the inside door jam of her ambulance outside the emergency entrance of Elmhurst Hospital Center In New York

 NY Post

Mayor Bill de Blasio said now is not the time to give EMT workers a raise — just days after emergency medical calls surpassed records set on 9/11 in response to the city’s coronavirus pandemic.

“We want to take care of these workers and support them, of course have their backs, but this is a bigger issue in the labor dynamics of this city,” de Blasio said on WNYC radio Friday.

It’s not the time to, you know, make something up on the fly in the middle of a crisis. That’s just the truth. We’ll figure this out when we get through this crisis,” de Blasio said.

The mayor made the remarks in response to a woman named Willa from Manhattan who called the radio show to ask de Blasio if he’d changed his position on not raising the pay of FDNY EMTs to match the salaries of their firefighter colleagues.

“This is what these men and women signed up for, this pandemic. And they will meet this moment,” Willa told the mayor.

“They’re risking real sickness and death in doing so but they need to know that you have their back. Do you still value the work that FDNY EMS does less than other first responders in terms of real dollars and cents?” she asked.

About 23 percent of all EMS members were out on medical leave because of the virus or other ailments as of Sunday. Last week medical calls were up to around 6,500 per day — hundreds more than the city’s busiest day of the year.

A January 2019 Post investigation found that the city’s emergency worker shortage was due in part to the pay gap among first responders. Firefighters are paid $86,000 after five years compared to $48,000 for a top EMT.

Oren Barzilay, president of the FDNY EMS, Local 2507, blasted the mayor’s stance.

“It is unfortunate that at a time when FDNY EMS employees need our mayor’s leadership and support, he chooses to stomp on them,” Barzilay said, noting that President Donald Trump recently called for incentive pay for emergency workers.

There the mayor goes again with his dithering just like when the contagion was spreading, "Now is not the time, yadda yadda yadda". But there was a lot of time to find $850,000,000 for his fucking wife's Thrive program and agency.

Cuomo's biggest and ugliest budget bill passes giving him more executive powers, more austerity cuts to Medicaid and stifles third parties from getting on the ballots


Lawmakers granted final approval on Thursday to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s sprawling $177 billion budget for 2021.

The deal ended a months-long budget fight in Albany that went haywire in recent weeks as the coronavirus pandemic swept across the state — killing more than 2,300 and crippling the economy.

The document promises to touch on many facets of life in the Empire State such as: tightening eligibility for a key health care program for the poor, legalizing e-bikes popular with delivery workers, banning flavored e-cigarette products and tweaking the bail reforms rammed through in the last budget.

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins (D-Westchester) addressed the state Capitol’s upper chamber, which was abandoned due to COVID-19 fears.

“As I look around this chamber, this nearly empty chamber, it really is surreal. For me, it’s chilling in many ways, it’s upsetting,” Cousins said.

“This is not a normal budget. It’s not even the budget we envisioned a month ago.”
Cousins’ Senate easily approved the final budget bills Thursday and the Assembly followed suit, though debate stretched into early Friday morning despite little doubt in the eventual outcome.

The budget foresees tax revenues plunging by at least $10 billion and OKed up to $11 billion in short-term borrowing to cover shortfalls while New York officials pray the feds provide more aid.

The budget crunch means that an expected $826 million boost in public education spending won’t happen — $321 million was supposed to go to the city’s schools.

New York City dodged one bullet as Cuomo abandoned plans to shift as much as $1.6 billion in Medicaid costs onto the Big Apple. Instead, Cuomo will take $200 million from the city and $50 million other counties for a “distressed” hospitals and nursing homes fund.

But other Medicaid changes outraged liberal lawmakers — especially the tightening eligibility rules for the state’s elderly and disabled to qualify for home care.

“Large numbers of frail elderly and people with disabilities will be deprived of home care by these restrictive standards,” said longtime Assemblyman Dick Gottfried (D-Manhattan) who chairs the chamber’s healthcare committee. “This is unjustified cruelty.”

NY Post
Gov. Cuomo managed to get his controversial overhaul of the state’s election laws and campaign-finance regulations included in the sprawling $177 billion budget, effectively ending a court fight that had tied the proposal up for months.

The overhaul will make it significantly harder for third parties to maintain their lines on the ballot, including Cuomo’s bĂȘte noire, the liberal Working Families Party.

All political parties will now have to score at least 130,000 votes in a statewide general election to remain on the ballot, more than double the current requirement of 50,000. It also imposes new limits on New York’s famously loose rules for fundraising.

In exchange, candidates will be eligible to receive public funding for their campaigns.

The overhaul was first proposed by a panel commissioned by lawmakers and Cuomo in the 2019 budget, which included Cuomo ally and state Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs.

The group issued their recommendations in November, which would have the force of law unless lawmakers vetoed them. However, the WFP and Conservative Party sued, claiming that Cuomo and lawmakers abrogated the proper legislative process, and won.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Humpback whale dies alone at Riis Park


 A 28-foot-long humpback whale washed ashore Tuesday at Jacob Riis Park in Queens, according to state environmental officials and the nonprofit Atlantic Marine Conservation Society.

In keeping with social distancing guidelines issued by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, scientists with the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society did not examine the whale, according to a news release.

This is the first stranded whale reported to the New York-based Atlantic Marine Conservation Society's stranding response team so far this year.

"It is always unfortunate when a whale washes up on our beaches," Atlantic Marine Conservation Society chief scientist Rob DiGiovanni said. "By working together, we strive to collect as much information as possible to help understand the cause of mortality."

What if the great mammal is alive? The AMCS can't get n95 masks either?

If this whale needs a respirator, it's out of luck

New York is getting played for chumps trying to get medical equipment and supplies


With the coronavirus outbreak creating an unprecedented demand for medical supplies and equipment, New York state has paid 20 cents for gloves that normally cost less than a nickel and as much as $7.50 each for masks, about 15 times the usual price. It’s paid up to $2,795 for infusion pumps, more than twice the regular rate. And $248,841 for a portable X-ray machine that typically sells for $30,000 to $80,000.

This payment data, provided by state officials, shows just how much the shortage of key medical equipment is driving up prices. Forced to venture outside their usual vendors and contracts, states and cities are paying exorbitant sums on a spot market ruled by supply and demand. Although New York’s attorney general has denounced excessive prices, and ordered merchants to stop overcharging people for hand sanitizers and disinfectant sprays, state laws against price gouging generally don’t apply to government purchases.

With little guidance from the Trump administration, competition among states, cities, hospitals and federal agencies is contributing to the staggering bill for fighting the pandemic, which New York has estimated will cost it $15 billion in spending and lost revenue. The bidding wars are also raising concerns that facilities with shallow pockets, like rural health clinics, won’t be able to obtain vital supplies.

As the epicenter of the pandemic, with about 40% of the nation’s coronavirus cases, New York state is especially desperate for medical equipment, no matter what the tab. “We know that New York and other states are in the market at the same time, along with the rest of the world, bidding on these same items, which is clearly driving the fluctuation in costs,” budget office spokesman Freeman Klopott said in an email.

The Office of General Services, New York’s main procurement agency, declined to say which sellers were inflating prices for essential medical gear. “At this moment in time the New York State team is focused on procuring goods and services based on current market conditions,” OGS spokeswoman Heather Groll wrote in an email. “There will be time to look back and pull together info on all this, that time will be when the pandemic is over.”

President Trump sends protective supplies to the NYPD after they begged for it.

NY Post

 White House officials sprung into action on Monday after receiving an “SOS” email from the NYPD begging for protective equipment — delivering the frontline gear just 16 hours later, The Post has learned.

In a mission dubbed “Operation Blue Bloods,” President Donald Trump’s equipment czar Peter Navarro, Assistant to the President for Trade and Manufacturing Policy, cobbled together a rapid-response team including company executives who flew thousands of full-body suits on a private plane the next day.

More than 6,000 gallons of hand sanitizer donated by alcohol company Pernod Ricard were also rushed from Arizona by a USPS trucker in 48 hours.

With a mounting number of bodies left in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, reports have emerged of homicide detectives being forced to make house calls without the correct protective equipment — potentially exposing them to the virus.

A desperate email from NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan asking for gear to protect Big Apple Finest — of whom more than 1,400 have tested positive for COVID-19 — landed in Navarro’s inbox on Monday, he said.

After being named the national Defense Production Act coordinator last week, Navarro called on executives at defense companies Raytheon and General Dynamics, and Pernod Richard, to step up.

 I just want to add one more thing to this post.

Navarro said the mission was an example of private companies heeding the call during the pandemic which has so far infected more than 216,000 people in the U.S. and killed over 5,100, according to Johns Hopkins University.

“What we’ve been trying to do under President Trump’s leadership is to wed the full force of federal government with the full power of private enterprise,” he said.

Is the Trump administration acknowledging...socialism???