Politics

New York state wasted virus response resources by panicking

Millions of dollars have been spent on equipment and facilities that were not needed.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

President Donald Trump has mentioned it more than once. Some states panicked over the coronavirus and that panic led them to ask for resources they did not need and that were never used. New York state is a case in point. Fox News reported the details.

Dr. David Samadi, a New York-based surgeon, said, “[The models] have been extremely inaccurate. These models gave a horrifying prediction that suggested COVID-19 could kill anywhere from 200,000 to 1.7 million Americans. Currently, it looks to be more like 60,000 to 65,000 deaths. While any American life lost to this virus is a shame, the death and infection rate is looking not quite so bleak as it was in the beginning.”

But New York took the worst-case scenario and ran with it instead of letting cooler heads prevail. Examples: “For one, construction firms earned $136 million to quickly erect the Stony Brook field hospital – paid for from the Army Corps of Engineers budget. The original contract with Manhattan-based Turner Construction Co. was for an amount not to exceed $101 million – yet, Newsday reported, ‘…the number was increased on April 8 to an amount not to exceed $136 million once it became clear that more money was needed,’ even with the lack of patients. Still, it has hardly been used, said officials.”

Two: “In April, coronavirus patients at a Brooklyn nursing home were denied admission to both of the medical facilities established in New York to handle victims of the pandemic even though beds were mostly empty. The snub, as highlighted by the New York Post, came weeks after New York health officials were warned by the nursing home operator – where 55 people have died – that there was a grave concern, and requesting patients be transferred to the temporary facilities.” There are more examples.

The debacle was because of poor logistical planning. Edicts made it time-consuming for hospitals to move patients to venues better suited to their conditions. Fox News: “In the case of the Javits Center, a stringent 25-point checklist meant even that few coronavirus patients could be sent there, as not every box could be marked.” That’s why the field hospital has since shuttered.

Samadi continued, “I believe the main reason for numerous hospitals having far lower hospitalized patient counts with the virus was due to the fact the majority of people who contracted the infection, did not require hospitalization. Either they were asymptomatic, or their symptoms were not life-threatening and could be carefully managed quarantined at home.”

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Another reason was that those with non-virus-related conditions and those who passed away from non-virus maladies were counted in the virus numbers, thus inflating the tabulations.

Even the ventilators (scores were sent to New York state) were not needed in anywhere near the numbers the state requested.

When the crisis abates, there will be a lot of questions to be answered. Was the response appropriate? Or was it fueled by a media-driven mass fright combined with politicians insuring themselves against perceived public failure regardless of the public health data?

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