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REPORT: NYC Short On Coronavirus Supplies Because Bill De Blasio Delayed First Order

By  Emily Zanotti
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 19: Mayor Bill De Blasio speaks during a video press conference on the city's response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak held at City Hall on March 19, 2020 in New York City. Reporters participated via WebEx and the event was streamed live by local media. (Photo by William Farrington-Pool/Getty Images)
Photo by William Farrington-Pool/Getty Images

New York City is desperate for coronavirus supplies, but it may because Mayor Bill de Blasio failed to heed warnings and stock up on supplies and not because the Federal government has been slow to send materials to areas heavily affected by coronavirus.

De Blasio laid into President Donald Trump Monday morning on CNN, excoriating the Federal government for failing to declare a national emergency and assume of medical device production.

“If we don’t get ventilators this week, we’re going to start losing lives we could have saved,” de Blasio warned on CNN’s “New Day.” “If we don’t get a supply of ventilators quickly, literally after a week, we won’t have enough ventilators to keep people alive.”

De Blasio also appeared on a radio program, where he complained about the Trump Administration, telling hosts he was still waiting for an answer on when ventilators and masks would be made available for New York City hospitals and blaming President Donald Trump for causing a life-threatening supply delay.

But the New York Post reported Monday that Bill de Blasio, who was reticent to believe that the coronavirus would prove a difficult problem for New Yorkers, that failed to place a supply order on time, leaving New York City’s healthcare workers dangerously short.

“Mayor Bill de Blasio has blamed President Trump for the city’s severe shortage of COVID-19 supplies even though City Hall didn’t secure its first order for emergency protective gear until March 6,” the outlet reported. “Officials with the city’s Office of Emergency Management tried to purchase nearly 200,000 n95 masks on Feb. 7, but weeks later they learned the vendors had already run out.”

“It was not until March 6 and March 10 — over two months after the coronavirus outbreak first hit China — that they finally secured the first emergency procurements of masks and hand sanitizer, according to the city comptroller’s office,” the Post continued.

When the orders were finally placed, NYC’s Department of Citywide Administrative Services, held up purchases with “bureaucratic red tape” and failed to complete payments, resulting in delays, per the Post’s investigation.

New York City authorities seem to believe that supplies are now on their way, though fulfillment times “vary significantly:” “Since the outbreak, the city has ordered 25 million masks, 2 million bottles of sanitizer, 12,000 thermometers and 2,000 ventilators.” The city, de Blasio said Monday, “3 million more N95 masks, 50 million more surgical masks, 15,000 ventilators and 45 million surgical gowns, coveralls, gloves and face shields.”

New York is largely considered the epicenter of the United States’ battle with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The state has 20,875 cases of coronavirus. New York City alone has 12,305. Around 160 people have died from the disease.

Bill de Blasio has been slow to lead efforts to address the pandemic. As of last Monday, de Blasio was reportedly still dithering on whether to close schools and shutter businesses, even though other states were taking drastic measures and his own staff was so frustrated with his lack of attention that some even threatened to quit. Monday morning, de Blasio defied Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, taking one last opportunity to work out at his preferred Brooklyn YMCA.

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