NEW YORK, NY — New York will partner with six states in the Northeast to purchase and manufacture medical supplies needed in the ongoing efforts to fight the new coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday.
The seven-state consortium will develop a regional supply chain for equipment such as ventilators, materials such as chemical reagents needed for coronavirus testing kits and personal protective equipment for front line health workers, Cuomo said. States joining New York in the effort include New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Delaware.
One benefit from working as a region will be the ability to drive down equipment prices, Cuomo said. In addition to pooling purchasing power, the states will no longer need to compete against each other for scare supplies. Governors of smaller states such as John Carney of Delaware and Ned Lamont of Connecticut said Sunday they can't compete with larger states such as New York.
Cuomo said Sunday that the need to work as a region was highlighted by the early struggles to procure equipment when the coronavirus outbreak was growing at an exponential rate and threatening to overwhelm the state's medical system.
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"There was competition among states, there was competition among private entities to get this equipment. The federal government was trying to buy it. I'm bidding on behalf of New York, we're bidding against other states," Cuomo said Sunday. "We literally ended up bidding up the price... It was totally inefficient and ineffective."
At one point, Cuomo was forced to ask Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to share masks that New England Patriots Owner Robert Kraft was bringing in from China on a private plane.
"This is not the way to deal with this situation," Cuomo said.
The seven-state consortium is expected to spend about $5 billion on medical equipment in the coming year, Cuomo said Sunday. On its own, New York was projected to spend $2 billion, according to the governor.
In addition to purchasing as a group, states involved in the consortium will make efforts to manufacture more supplies locally. Governors joining Cuomo's Sunday press briefing spoke about efforts to manufacture chemicals in New Jersey and innovations being made in 3D printing of materials needed in test kits and other medical equipment.