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While New York, the U.S. epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, may have seen its first daily drop in deaths over the weekend, hospitals are still running out of critical supplies like ventilators and medications, including antibiotics, Dr. Stuart Ditchek, the team leader for the New York Pandemic Response Working Group, said Monday on “Fox & Friends.”
Ditchek, with Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, sent a letter to President Trump on Sunday asking him to issue an executive order for the federal government to take medical supplies from other states and deliver them immediately to the New York City area.
Speaking on “Fox & Friends," Ditchek said New York City still needs 8,000 ventilators this week.
“There is no negotiation or debate about that,” Ditchek said. “I cannot speak to how many states have sent ventilators yet, that's the issue that should be directed to the governor, but we don’t have enough."
"We are running out of [ventilators] and we are running out of critical priority ICU [intensive care unit] medications to keep these patients sedated,” he continued.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Sunday that New York State has seen its first drop in daily coronavirus deaths. He added that New York also experienced a slight drop in intensive care admissions and the number of patients who need breathing tubes inserted. The hospital discharge rate is "way up" he said, calling it "great news."
“You could argue that you are seeing a plateauing,” Cuomo told reporters on Sunday, as he revealed that the state had reported 594 new coronavirus deaths -- down from the 630 reported on Saturday and the 562 on Friday.
Responding to Cuomo’s comments, Ditchek said Monday, “I don't agree with that assessment,” adding that “I don't see that in the hospitals here.”
He said that he thinks the data that comes in through the state, which is “then funneled up to the federal level,” is “often flawed especially during a crisis where our health care system potentially can collapse.”
“I can tell you that many patients in the Brooklyn area have been dying at home or have been found dead at home,” Ditchek said. “The hospitals are overwhelmed so the reporting systems may not be what you believe.”
He also said that the emergency rooms have been full.
“I was in Maimonides last night and we have patients who were waiting to get upstairs in large numbers because the ICU beds are full,” he explained.
As of Monday morning, New York, which is reporting the most coronavirus cases in the country, had 123,160 positive cases and 4,159 deaths, according to data compiled by Fox News. New York City reported 67,551 cases and 3,048 deaths, according to the data.
On Sunday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said that the state will return more than 400 ventilators of the 500 it has received from the federal government so they can go to New York and other states hit harder by the coronavirus.
The Democratic governor said that his statewide stay-at-home order and weeks of social distancing have led to slower rates of infections and deaths in Washington.
On Saturday Gov. Cuomo revealed Saturday that Oregon is donating 140 ventilators to New York. He also revealed that a plane from China packed with 1,000 of the machines was scheduled to land later Saturday in New York City. That donation came to fruition after New York held talks with China.
Still, Ditchek said, hospitals have not seen these much-discussed ventilators. “We are not seeing this distribution that we keep hearing about and we are drowning here in Brooklyn," he said Monday.
He went on to say that doctors are “coming up with other solutions” such as using CPAP Machines.
“We’ve actually worked with a company now that's modifying CPAP Machines into very, very functional and useful brand new invasive ventilators. We are getting those out,” Ditchek said, adding that “we are working with a company now that's getting them to hospitals as early as late next week.”
“We’re on our own at this point and we are working as such,” he added.
Fox News’ Gregg Re, Greg Norman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.