(Reuters) – The coronavirus pandemic took a personal turn for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday as he disclosed that his brother, CNN television anchor Chris Cuomo, had tested positive for the disease caused by the virus.
The disclosure came on the same day New York reported that cases in the state had increased by more than 9,000 from a day earlier, to 75,795, with deaths rising by 27 percent to 1,550, the most of any state.
“My brother Chris is positive for coronavirus, we found that this morning. He is going to be fine, he’s young, strong – not as strong as he thinks,” Cuomo told a daily briefing on the coronavirus. “I spoke to him this morning and he is going to be quarantined in his basement.”
Chris Cuomo, 49, confirmed the diagnosis on Twitter, saying he was worried about infecting his wife and children, but that he would continue to host his nightly show from his basement.
The governor was interviewed by his brother on CNN on Monday night and grilled about a potential presidential run given the praise he has garnered for his response to the virus. The elder Cuomo, 62, reiterated that he would not run for president.
States across the country, like New York, have been scrambling to purchases ventilators, one of the most pressing needs for hospitals treating patients.
The governor said he had ordered 17,000 ventilators from China at an average price of $25,000 each. But of that order, he said, he had firm commitment on only 2,500 units and complained about competing with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other states in purchasing the equipment.
“It’s like being on eBay with 50 other states bidding on a ventilator,” Cuomo said. “The federal government, FEMA, should have been the purchasing agent, buy everything, and then allocate by need to the states.”
Cuomo said various predictive models being used by New York indicate the apex of the surge for hospitals will come anywhere from 7 to 21 days from now.
“The virus is more powerful, more dangerous than we expected,” Cuomo said. “We’re still going up the mountain. The main battle is on top of the mountain.”
(Reporting by Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut, and Maria Caspani in New York; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Dan Grebler)