If the previous 24 hours are any indication of what is expected to occur in New York City, then the Big Apple is in for quite a tumultuous and likely tragedy riddled week.

The past day (April 3) has seen 562 people succumb to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The death tally will soon surpass 3,000, eclipsing the 2,996 killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks known as 9/11.

Hospitals in NYC are reporting that the supply of body bags is dwindling and some fear that shortages of equipment and trained medical care workers will lead to rationing in care, an affront to anyone in the medical field.

Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo
Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference at the Jacob Javits Convention Center during the Coronavirus pandemic on March 30, 2020 in New York City. The Army Corps of Engineers constructed the temporary hospital with nearly 3,000 beds in the convention center to serve patients not seeking medical attention for coronavirus (COVID-19) but for other ailments. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images) Noam Galai/Getty Images

The speed of the contagion may thwart the efforts of Gov. Andrew Cuomo who has pleaded to the rest of the nation to expedite equipment and medical staff to the state. He also issued an executive order Friday giving him the power to take ventilators from hospitals in less-affected counties in NY State for use in hard-hit areas like Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island.

Gov. Cuomo bluntly said, “I’m not going to let people die because we didn’t redistribute ventilators. We don’t have enough, period.”

Not unexpectedly, leaders in the areas that Cuomo plans to take the ventilators from have voiced their objections. Rep. Elise Stefanik, a congresswoman representing a rural district of northern New York, released a statement that she was “very concerned” about the order.

She wrote, “I represent demographically the largest number of seniors of any district in New York. This is the most vulnerable age group facing COVID-19 and needs to be considered.” Stefanik and 11 other state and federal officials later issued a joint statement opposing Cuomo’s action.

The battle over ventilators sets an ominous tone because Cuomo is a Democrat leading a largely Democratic high-density urban population, whereas Stefanik is a Republican in the largely rural Republican 21st district with a low-density population of about 700,000. The 11 other signers of the joint statement are also reported to be Republican.

In his plea to the nation, Gov. Cuomo made a promise that any help sent to his city would be returned. He said he would redirect hundreds of lifesaving ventilators and teams of local doctors to other states as soon as the crisis in New York passed its peak.

NYC is now the global epicenter for COVID-19 but there are several other “epicenters” cropping up simultaneously in other urban areas that could make the Governor’s promise an empty one.

Vicki LoPachin, the chief medical officer of the Mount Sinai Health System, described the plight of NYC in an email to her staff Friday, “It is hard to put fully into words what we are all grappling with as we navigate our way through this pandemic. We are healing so many and comforting those we can’t save, one precious life at a time.”

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said also Friday at a daily news briefing, “We continue to watch, in addition, the Chicago area, the Detroit area, and have developing concerns around Colorado, the District of Columbia.” She added that the government would “move supplies creatively around the country to meet the needs of both the front line health care providers but also every American who needs our support right now.”

Let’s all hope that can be accomplished beginning in NYC this next week.