KEY POINTS

  • New York, California and Washington will begin to receive the massive federal aid they've been clamoring for the past three weeks
  • The federal government promised to set-up 19 medical stations in these states
  • Trump claims his strained relationship with New York governor Andrew Cuomo "has really been amazing"

After weeks of bickering with states over the federal government's role in fighting the worsening COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the U.S., president Donald Trump yielded ground to the states on Sunday, and announced a massive federal effort to support the state-led fight against the disease.

Trump said 19 federal medical stations will be delivered to the hardest hit states of New York, California and Washington within the next two days. He also announced the activation of the federal National Guard to assist these three states. He said the states have either been approved or will soon be approved for major disaster declarations to allow the federal government to provide supplies more seamlessly.

Of these 19 medical stations, four large ones with 1,000 beds will go to New York, which has 15,600 confirmed cases of the coronavirus out of the U.S. total of 32,717 cases as of Sunday, according to Johns Hopkins University. New York accounts for an incredible 48% of all COVID-19 cases in the country. New York confirmed its first case of COVID-19 only on March 1. As of March 22, are 15,600 confirmed cases in the state and of these, 76 people have died.

Eight large federal medical stations with 2,000 beds will be shipped to California, which has 1,500 cases and 30 deaths. Three large and four small federal medical stations with 1,000 beds will go to Washington. The Evergreen State has 1,997 cases and 95 deaths. The death toll is the largest among all 50 U.S. states.

Trump's feud with the hardest hit COVID-19 states -- New York, California and Washington, which happen to be Democrat strongholds -- escalated last week when he said these states have to do more and not badger the federal government. He also told them the federal government is “not a shipping clerk” for the life-saving supplies being demanded by them.

“Governors are supposed to be doing a lot of this work, and they are doing a lot of this work,” said Trump on March 19. “The federal government is not supposed to be out there buying vast amounts of items and then shipping. You know, we’re not a shipping clerk.”

Trump has an especially heated feud with the Democratic governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo. The two got into a harsh Twitter spat on March 16, which began when Trump tweeted: “Cuomo of New York has to “do more” [sic]."

Cuomo retaliated with his own tweet: “I have to do more? No -- YOU have to do something! You’re supposed to be the President.”

On Sunday, Trump seemed to ease up on his attacks on Cuomo, tweeting: "The relationship (between himself and Cuomo) has really been amazing.” He also said he believes the federal government should serve as "sort of a backup for the states."

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered non-essential businesses to close and banned all gatherings, in an escalation of attempts to contain the deadly coronavirus pandemic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered non-essential businesses to close and banned all gatherings, in an escalation of attempts to contain the deadly coronavirus pandemic Photo: AFP / Angela Weiss