Cuomo wants FEMA, military to build more mobile hospitals

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is seeking 4,000 more temporary hospitals beds across New York City and ordered schools closed statewide for two more weeks. 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.

Here are the latest coronavirus developments in New York:


Cuomo sought to add another 4,000 temporary hospital beds across New York City and ordered schools closed statewide for two more weeks on Friday, warning of hard days ahead in the coronavirus outbreak.

"This is going to be weeks and weeks and weeks," Cuomo told National Guard members working at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. "This is going to be a long day, and it's going to be a hard day, and it's going to be an ugly day, and it's going to be a sad day."

A new temporary hospital at the Javits Center is part of the state's plan to quickly bring hospital capacity up from 53,000 beds to 140,000 beds. More temporary hospitals are planned in the suburbs and a Navy hospital ship is due to arrive Monday in New York City, a global hotspot of the outbreak.

Already more than 6,000 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized in New York, with almost 1,600 in intensive care. The state has logged a nation-high of 519 deaths, and has more than 44,000 confirmed cases.

Fearful of still falling short of hospital beds if the outbreak peaks sharply in April, Cuomo is seeking authorization from the Trump administration to add 4,000 beds spread among the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. The hospitals would be constructed at a horse track complex, a city college, an expo center and a cruise ship terminal.

A temporary hospital bed set up in the Jacob Javits Convention Center

A temporary hospital bed set up in the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York, March 27, 2020. (Governor's Press Office)

"Were looking far and wide, very creative, aggressive and finding all the space that we can possibly find," Cuomo said. 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio gave his own grim warning later Friday, saying that Sunday, April 5 will be "a decisive moment for the city" in terms of having enough medical workers, supplies and equipment. The mayor said that while next week will be difficult, he's "very, very worried" about what will happen after that. 

"We need to make sure that we can get to that day ready to face the week after that, and the week after that as well. And right now, we're not there," said de Blasio.

The mayor said he shared his concern with President Donald Trump and federal officials.

The governor also ordered schools in New York state to remain closed for another two weeks until April 15. Cuomo two weeks ago had ordered schools closed through April 1 as part of the state's effort to slow the transmission of the outbreak. 

New York City schools are closed through April 20, though officials say the city closure could last the rest of the school year. 


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"I don't do this joyfully, but I think that when you look at where we are, when you look at the number of cases still increasing, it only makes sense to keep the schools closed," said Cuomo, who added he would reassess closures closer to April 15.

Cuomo said he prefers closing schools for two weeks at a time for now, partly over concern that announcing a longer closure could make it harder to reopen schools if the tide changes.

New York's National Guard has helped provide logistical support at the Javits Center while also helping with food packaging and distribution and support for local law enforcement at New York City transportation hubs. 

"You are living a moment in history. This is going to be one the moments they write about and talk about for generations," he told guard members. "So I say, my friends, that we go out there today and we kick coronavirus's ass."