New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday that NYC needs "military assistance" to combat the outbreak. His comment marks the first time that a mayor of a major American city has called for direct intervention from the military.
Though it's not exactly surprising: NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been calling on the Army Corp of Engineers to assist the state with building temporary shelters (like MASH field hospitals) and retrofit other buildings to expand hospital bad capacity, which could help the state save hundreds, if not thousands of lives.
De Blasio has said he believes the number of cases in NYC would exceed 1,000 on Wednesday, up from 923 cases the day before.
Trump said during yesterday's White House press conference that the administration was in talks with the Army Corp of Engineers to see how they could best help the states. Shortly after, though, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he hadn't been consulted, and added that such activities would be "better left to the states."
Instead, Esper said the Pentagon would share millions of pieces of vital medical equipment with hospitals across the country, while also deploying two Navy hospital ships to states in the most dire need.
De Blasio added that he's "almost at the point" of "recommending" a 'shelter in place' order to Gov. Cuomo, despite Cuomo's insistence that he wasn't planning to impose widespread quarantine measures.
During an interview with Rachel Maddow last night, the mayor slammed the Trump Administration for keeping troops at the border during the crisis, suggesting they should be pulled to assist with the response.
“You’ve still got military officers building a wall in the middle of a pandemic,” NYC Mayor de Blasio says. “Every single one of them should be working on addressing coronavirus right now.” https://t.co/uSP7GlNj7e— MSNBC (@MSNBC) March 18, 2020
Of course, with NYC streets practically empty and bars and restaurants finally closed thanks to his order, some analysts dared to suggest that the mayor might be overreacting.
Bloomberg News headlines in the last 15 minutes ...— Jim Bianco (@biancoresearch) March 18, 2020
*DE BLASIO SAYS CASES IN NEW YORK CITY NEAR 1,OOO
*NYC MAYOR DE BLASIO SAYS MILITARY ASSISTANCE NEEDED IN CITY
Is he asking for the National Guard in the streets of Manhattan … now?
Cuomo has slammed de Blasio for being a little too aggressive with the 'shelter in place' talk. This begs the question: Is de Blasio now the country's 'alarmist in chief'?