The price of ventilators has skyrocketed from less than $20,000 to more than $50,000, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday, thanks to states and the federal government’s furious competition to secure as many of the life-saving devices as possible.
Cuomo spoke from the sprawling Jacob Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, which has been transformed into a field hospital as the scope of the coronavirus pandemic grows. New York state, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, now has more than 66,000 coronavirus cases, the governor said.
Cuomo said last week that New York state has roughly 12,000 ventilators, but will likely need as many as 40,000 at the projected height of the pandemic. But since no state will remain untouched by the virus, both states and the federal government are now jockeying for ventilators. And that’s pushing prices up.
“We’ve created a situation where you literally have hundreds of entities looking to buy the same exact materials basically from the same place, which is China, ironically enough,” Cuomo said.
“The ventilators are now over $50,000, if you can find them,” he added. “The ventilators didn’t change that much in two weeks. The prices went up because literally we are driving the prices up. But we need to give our front line, our health care professionals, the supplies they need. And we need to do it now.”
As of Monday early afternoon, more than 1,200 people have now died of COVID-19 — up from 965 on Sunday. Nearly 10,000 are currently hospitalized.
The USNS Comfort, a Navy hospital ship, also sailed into New York Harbor Monday. Like Javits, the ship will be responsible for handling patients who do not have COVID-19 but can no longer find treatment in any of New York’s traditional hospitals, which have been overwhelmed by the onslaught of the coronavirus.
Cover: A ventilator stands at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, U.S., on Monday, March 23, 2020. (Photo: Angus Mordant/Bloomberg via Getty Images)