NYC Did Have Ventilators Stockpiled, but They Auctioned Them off, Now They're Scrambling

AP Photo/Paul Sancya

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio participates in the second of two Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN Wednesday, July 31, 2019, in the Fox Theatre in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The epicenter of the Wuhan coronavirus has been New York for some time now.

Despite some postulating that other states would start getting astronomical numbers, that hasn’t panned out.

Some on the left who have been pushing the “Fox downplayed the virus” narrative have been saying that the numbers in “Trump states” would reflect that. How offensive — viruses don’t care about your political status. It isn’t political.

But “Trump states” are not catching up to New York and there’s likely a variety of reasons why including difference in population density, possibly more notice before it hit and perhaps being locked down earlier in the progression of the disease in their area.

As of April 8, 33 states still have under 100 deaths. 15 have under 1000 deaths. Only two states have more than 1000 deaths, New York and New Jersey. As we have previously reported, it’s still a very disparate regional impact for a “national pandemic” in terms of the virus. Obviously the epicenter of the epicenter would be New York City.

So it begs the question, what did New York City do to prepare?

One of the other reasons may have been the local decisions of the folks in New York and specifically New York City. Mayor Bill de Blasio was still encouraging people to go out and enjoy their normal activities well into March, saying go out to the movie theater. It wasn’t until there was basically a massive revolt from teachers to his own staff that he was finally forced to shut down schools and businesses on March 15.

Meanwhile, de Blasio had been bashing President Donald Trump calling his actions delayed despite the fact that Trump began acting in January and de Blasio took no substantive action until March.

But there’s another way in which de Blasio failed big time.

According to a report from Pro Publica, New York City anticipated there might be a coming pandemic in 2006 after there was a strain of flu spreading through Asia, so they tried to stockpile ventilators and facemasks that they thought might be needed. That was under Mike Bloomberg.

So what happened?

The ventilators were auctioned off under de Blasio because the machines broke down and the city decided they couldn’t afford to maintain them, according to The Hill.

The 14-year-old report obtained by ProPublica shows the city was keenly aware of the consequences of a potential pandemic, almost predicting the exact scenario that played out this year, according to the investigative outlet.

“Since the pandemic will be widespread in the United States, the supplies from the federal Strategic National Stockpile may not be available and local caches will need to be relied upon,” the 2006 report said.

The report seems eerily prescient.

From Fox News:

“Using the same assumptions for a projected 1918-like pandemic, produces a projected shortfall of between 2,036 and 9,454 ventilators,” the report continues. “Based upon these numbers alone, it is important to consider augmenting existing ventilator capacity for adults, children, and neonates in NYC.”

Now the city is scrambling to get more ventilators.