AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York on Monday delivered the strongest warning to date of any major American politician on the severity of the coronavirus outbreak.
Without mentioning President Donald Trump by name, Cuomo gave a press conference that stiffly rebuked the Trump administration's response to the pandemic.
"Deploy the Army Corps of Engineers to work with states to help us build temporary facilities," Cuomo said. "And if you don't do it, you know what is going to happen."
Detailing the math behind the outbreak, Cuomo said that he did not think New York would be able to "flatten the curve" and that the hospitals would be overrun without federal assistance.
"I want federal action. You can't have one state taking actions that are different than other states," he said, adding: "This is like the reverse federalism. This is a national pandemic, and there are no national rules."
Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York on Monday delivered a strong warning about the severity of the coronavirus outbreak.
Cuomo, 62, said the math behind the outbreak had him concerned about the Empire State's hospital system.
Related Video: Can the Coronavirus Be Stopped?
"I don't think we're going to be able to flatten the curve enough to meet the demand of the healthcare system," Cuomo said, referring to the exponential growth of the outbreak.
Cuomo said that 40% to 60% - and perhaps up to 80% - of New Yorkers would likely contract the virus. As of Monday, there were nearly 1,000 coronavirus cases in New York state and seven deaths.
-Rani Molla (@ranimolla) March 16, 2020
With a population of more than 19 million, New York has only about 53,000 total hospital beds, with 3,200 for people in intensive care.
In his press conference on Monday, Cuomo was blunt in his assessment that there was only so much the state could do to boost that capacity.
He called on the Army Corps of Engineers to build medical facilities and equip spaces like dormitories for medical capabilities.
"Deploy the Army Corps of Engineers to work with states to help us build temporary facilities," Cuomo said.
"And if you don't do it, you know what is going to happen," he continued, adding, "You have people on gurneys in hallways - that is what is going to happen now if we do nothing."
Though at one point he praised the Trump administration's assistance, he later lambasted the overall federal response.
"I want federal action. You can't have one state taking actions that are different than other states," Cuomo said.
The governor got slightly irritated, saying the American people were right to panic, given the mixed messages and lack of coordination coming from the federal government.
"This is like the reverse federalism," Cuomo said. "This is a national pandemic, and there are no national rules."
He added that "the national news broadcasts today would cause somebody to panic."