Cuomo Calls for More Coronavirus Response Funding from Federal Government
by Dan Clark • Published on March 5, 2020 • 0 Comments
Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks to reporters in Albany. (March 5, 2020)
Credit: Dan Clark
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that a $35 million infusion of funds from the federal government to prepare for a potential outbreak of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, was “insufficient” and called on the Trump administration to provide more for New York.
Cuomo made the request after confirming to reporters in Albany that the number of cases in New York had doubled overnight, with 22 confirmed as of Thursday morning.
The state Legislature, this week, approved a bill to set aside $40 million from the state’s coffers to prepare for a potential outbreak of the disease. The legislation also gave Cuomo new powers to bypass certain legal obstacles in the event of an outbreak.
Congress, this week, approved $8.3 billion in funding to respond to the coronavirus, which has killed 10 people in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control.
New York is set to receive $35 million of that funding, which Cuomo scoffed at Thursday.
“New York state gets $35 million out of $8.3 billion?” Cuomo said. “And by the way, the states are on the front lines here. You look at what we’re doing — you don’t see any federal officials running around here, taking samples and doing anything else.”
Cuomo even called out Vice President Mike Pence, who he’s personally spoken to more than once about the federal government’s response to the disease. Cuomo said he was surprised New York didn’t get more after speaking with Pence.
“The Vice President said ‘don’t worry, I’ll make sure the states get the funds they need’ because he was a former governor — and New York state gets $35 million?” Cuomo said. “That’s insufficient.”
Robert Mujica, director of the state Division of Budget, said that if the situation continues to unfold for several weeks, New York state will spend well above the initial $40 million it allocated and the $35 million provided by the federal government.
The state Department of Health, as of now, doesn’t have a projection on how many people the disease will infect, or how many will end up testing positive. Some may contract the disease but self-resolve before they feel the need to get tested.
Cuomo said Thursday that more cases are expected in New York because health care providers will continue to ramp up the number of tests in the coming days.
“The number will increase because this will spread and the number will increase because it is math,” Cuomo said. “The more people you yest, the more positives you are going to find.”