New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he's asked the federal government to nationalize the purchase of medical equipment and has signed off on several locations to build temporary hospitals to treat coronavirus patients across the state, which is the hardest hit in the U.S.
Cuomo said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will build temporary hospitals in Stony Brook, Westbury, Westchester and the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, which will contain four federal hospitals with 250 beds each.
New York state is also running a clinical trial beginning Tuesday of a treatment regimen of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, two drugs that doctors in Africa and elsewhere say they've seen good results in fighting the virus.
Cuomo said the federal government needs to nationalize the purchase of needed medical supplies, adding that the shortage of personal protective gear like masks and life-saving equipment like respirators is leading to price gouging. Masks that used to cost 85 cents are now $7, "why because I'm competing against other states," he said.
"Currently when states are doing it, we are competing against other states. In some cases, we're savaging other states," Cuomo said. "This is just an impossible situation to manage, if we don't get the equipment, we could lose lives that we could otherwise save if we had the equipment."
New York City is the new epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday.