As virus toll mounts in NY, more friction with Trump
New York – President Donald Trump and elected leaders in New York are clashing again over the depth of the state’s coronavirus crisis. Meanwhile, the outbreak is taking its toll on the state’s civil servants, with the virus claiming the lives of bus and train workers and a civilian employee of the New York Police Department.
Here are the latest coronavirus developments in New York:
Trump Doubts Depth Of Crisis
New York City’s Democratic mayor, Bill de Blasio, tangled with Trump again Friday after the Republican president expressed doubts about the depth of the crisis in the city’s hospital system and its urgent need for more breathing machines.
“When the president says the state of New York doesn’t need 30,000 ventilators, with all due respect to him, he’s not looking at the facts of this astronomical growth of this crisis,” de Blasio said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Trump on Thursday told Fox’s Sean Hannity, “I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You go into major hospitals sometimes, and they’ll have two ventilators. And now all of a sudden they’re saying, ‘Can we order 30,000 ventilators?’”
The federal government has been sending ventilators to New York and more help is on the way, including a Navy hospital ship and temporary hospitals from the military and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“So we’ve gotten something. I’m thankful for that,” the Democratic mayor said. “But it has to keep coming.”
Public Servants Felled By Virus
The coronavirus outbreak is taking its toll on New York City’s civil servants.
Two people who helped keep New York moving during the crisis, bus operator Oliver Cyrus, 61, and train conductor Peter Petrassi, 49, were killed by the virus Thursday, according to their union.
Transport Workers Union Local 100 President Tony Utano called the two deaths in one day “a terrible and incredibly sad loss.”
He called transit workers “true heroes” for continuing to work during the pandemic and he demanded the Metropolitan Transportation Authority provide transportation workers with protective masks.
“Dedication and duty does not mean using transit workers as cannon fodder,” Utano said.
The New York Police Department announced its first coronavirus death on Thursday. Dennis Dickson, a department janitor, died from complications of the disease, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said.
Dickson worked for the department since 2006 and spent 17 straight days cleaning up police headquarters after Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
The department, even as it has been tasked with helping police New York’s social distancing rules, also continues to see a spike in absences. On Thursday, 3,674 officers called in sick, accounting for about 10% of the force. As of Thursday, 351 NYPD personnel had tested positive for the virus.
The department’s top counterterrorism official, Deputy Commissioner John Miller, was hospitalized Thursday, awaiting test results after experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
A Heavy Toll
COVID-19 has attacked New York with increasing force.
On Tuesday, roughly 3,000 people were hospitalized with the virus in New York state. That number rose to 3,800 Wednesday and then leaped to 5,300 by Thursday morning.
Health care workers treating the sick are worried they too will become infected. Many are feeling the emotional strain of caring for patients isolated from their families. Meanwhile, officials have scrambled to try and bring enough breathing machines to New York to care for growing legions of patients.