N.Y. Gov. Cuomo blasts lack of funding for states in coronavirus relief bill

Thousands of new COVID-19 infections are being reported in New York daily. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

March 26 (UPI) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday the pending coronavirus relief bill doesn’t do enough for state and local governments as the state’s caseload reached more than 37,000.

Cuomo said during his daily briefing in Albany, N.Y. that the $2.2 trillion package before Congress was “irresponsible” and “reckless” for not covering an expected $15 billion revenue shortfall the state is facing due to its all-out coronavirus response measures.

The relief package was approved by the U.S. Senate late Wednesday and Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will vote on it Friday. President Donald Trump has said he will sign it.

Pelosi said Thursday she’s seeking more funding for state and local governments in the measure before the vote.

As currently drafted, New York would receive $5 billion under the bill — not nearly enough to make up for its emergency spending, Cuomo said.

“I’m disappointed, I said I was disappointed. I find it irresponsible, I find it reckless,” he said. “When this is over, I promise you I’m going to give them a piece of my mind.”

New York has become the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States with just over 37,000 cases as of early Thursday — more than half the total number of cases in the country.

New York’s death toll jumped by 100 during the preceding 24 hours to 385, Cuomo said, while the number of patients hospitalized surged by 40 percent to 5,300. Health officials expect the state will need 140,000 hospital beds and 40,000 intensive care units when the wave of infections reaches its apex in the coming days.

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Across the country, deaths from COVID-19 topped 1,000 as the outbreak deepened in several parts of the United States, including California and Louisiana.

Expert trackers at Johns Hopkins University say there are nearly 70,000 U.S. cases, with the death count at 1,049 by 1 p.m. EDT Thursday. Those numbers did not include the 100 new deaths announced in New York. More than 600 U.S. patients have classified as “recovered.”

The growing crisis has led to orders to stay at home for millions of Americans in 20 states.

The virus’ economic toll was reflected Thursday in a Labor Department report that noted a historic surge of jobless claims last week. The report cited 3 million new claims, for a total of 3.3 million, which is the largest single-week increase in history.

On Wednesday, Trump approved disaster declarations in Florida and Texas, one day after he approved requests for Louisiana and Iowa. The president said he has approved declarations in seven states.

States have also been shutting the doors of their schools amid the outbreak, with Maryland on Wednesday extending its closure. Superintendent Karen Salmon said Maryland schools will stay closed for four more weeks. The state has more than 400 cases and four deaths.

“The reality is this crisis is really just beginning here in our state and across America,” Gov. Larry Hogan said, warning residents the numbers will increase.

In California, which has more than 3,100 cases, Gov. Gavin Newsom said more than 1 million residents have filed for unemployment in the last two weeks. A week ago, Newsom ordered the state’s 40 million residents to stay home.

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