Cuomo Heads to White House as He Lobbies for COVID-19 Help

NEW YORK (AP) -
cuomo trump coronavirus
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence watch a video of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaking at Cuomo’s daily briefing, during the daily COVID-19  task force briefing at the White House, Sunday. (Reuters/Al Drago)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will head to the White House on Tuesday as he seeks billions in federal aid and help with coronavirus testing.

The Democratic governor and Republican president have alternately praised and criticized each other over their respective responses to the outbreak. The pair traded barbs as recently as Friday, when President Trump said Gov. Cuomo should get to work after the governor argued that the federal government needed to lead in ramping up mass testing.

Cuomo will attend a White House meeting Tuesday afternoon. Neither side offered details on the meeting, but it comes as Cuomo lobbies for more federal help.

“Andrew is going to be coming in with some of his people, so we look forward to that,” Trump said at his briefing Monday.

Cuomo and other governors want $500 billion in unrestricted aid to offset outbreak-related revenue shortfalls. And Cuomo contends the federal government must help get crucial supplies needed for testing.

Here are the latest coronavirus developments in New York:

STOCKPILING SUPPLIES

New York City is planning to stockpile medical equipment and supplies to meet its own needs in any potential future coronavirus surge, rather than looking to federal authorities or global markets, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.

He said the new “strategic reserve” would include ventilators, face shields, surgical gowns and test kits, and the initiative also includes developing local suppliers who could quickly make more if needed.

In one example, the city is spending $10 million to buy 3,000 “bridge” ventilators — suitable for patients who don’t have the severest respiratory symptoms — from Queens-based Boyce Technologies Inc. It has started making the devices only in recent weeks.

“We have learned the hard way that we cannot depend on the federal government in the future,” nor in the global marketplace, de Blasio, a Democrat, said at a news briefing. “We New Yorkers will take care of ourselves.”

In a similar vein, De Blasio last week announced a plan to create a $50 million reserve of as many as 18 million non-perishable meals.

EYE ON OTHER STATES

De Blasio said Tuesday that if governors of states such as Georgia start to ease coronavirus restrictions, they had better have the facts on their side or they could enable a resurgence of the virus beyond their states’ borders.

“If some of these reopenings are done the wrong way, it’s going to affect all of us,” de Blasio said on CNN. He said that if any state or city “jumps the gun” on reopening businesses, “that could lead to the disease reasserting in a lot of other places.”

The Democratic mayor announced Monday that all public events will be canceled in New York City through June.

The New York City ban, which affects major annual celebrations such as the Puerto Rican and Celebrate Israel Parades, was announced the same day that Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said he would allow some businesses including gyms, hair salons and bowling alleys to reopen later this week. The Republican governor called the loosening of restrictions intended to curb the spread of the virus, “the right approach at the right time.”

PARADE FOR HEROES

De Blasio said New York will eventually hold a parade – to honor first responders and health-care workers.

“The day is coming when this city will fight our way back, when this city will get back to normal,” said the mayor. “When that day comes that we can restart the vibrant, beautiful life of this city again, the first thing we will do is we will have a ticker-tape parade down the Canyon of Heroes for our health-care workers and our first responders. We will honor those who saved us.”