New York Governor Praises 'Very Creative' Trump On Coronavirus Response As President Sends Ship to Serve as Floating Hospital

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo commended President Donald Trump's "very creative" assistance with the state's response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The president is "fully engaged on trying to help New York," Cuomo said at a press conference on Wednesday, adding, "His actions demonstrate that he is doing that." He said that he spoke with the president on Tuesday to discuss a coordinated response.

The state now has 2,382 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, up from 1,000 since Tuesday, with 20 reported deaths. No other state has nearly as many positive cases. Nevertheless, Cuomo reiterated his hesitancy to back a "shelter in place" order, which is being imminently considered by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The state has performed 14,597 tests for coronavirus infection.

In about 45 days, when COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, is projected to hit its peak in the state, Cuomo estimated that New York will need to double its hospital bed capacity to 110,000, in addition to procuring around 34,000 additional ventilators.

Trump has deployed the USNS Comfort, a Navy hospital ship, to assist New York's efforts. It will dock in New York Harbor, alleviating the strain on hospitals' capacity with its approximately 1,000 beds and operating rooms.

Schools, dine-in restaurants, gyms, movie theaters and bars are already shut down statewide. The governor has ordered that social gatherings not exceed groups of 50 people. The governors of New Jersey and Connecticut implemented the same restrictions in their respective states.

"The state cannot do this on its own," Cuomo said about the need for a harmonious response with the federal government. "The most important thing in life to know is to know what you cannot do. Know your limitations. We can't build new hospitals in 45 days. The federal government can be extremely helpful here, and we need the federal government's help."

Trump also sent the Army Corps of Engineers to New York, and Cuomo said that he is set to meet with them Wednesday afternoon.

Notwithstanding the preparations New York is taking in partnership with the federal government, Cuomo acknowledged that "there is going to be an impact on the economy."

At the press conference, he announced that he will order all businesses in the state to maintain a workplace capacity of, at most, 50 percent. This will ensure that a substantial portion of New York's workforce begins to work from home for the near future. Essential services such as hospitals will be exempted from the new requirements.

"We can't handle the number of cases in the health care system at [the] current rate of spread," Cuomo said. "We have to get it down. We've taken dramatic steps."

Andrew Cuomo
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks to the media while touring a newly opened drive-through coronavirus mobile testing center on March 13 in New Rochelle. At a March 18 press conference, the governor announced that he will order all businesses in the state to maintain a workplace capacity of, at most, 50 percent. Spencer Platt/Getty