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Feds need a plan to protect New Yorkers from RSV surge, Schumer says

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U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is calling on the federal government to prepare healthcare workers and materials in case New York needs help fighting RSV.

Schumer said Long Island and New York City hospitals are overwhelmed with cases and may soon need support.

“HHS has the authority, we've given them that by law, to help in scenarios like this,” Schumer said. “And I'm calling on them to be ready. If any hospital in New York says, ‘we're short of doctors, we're short of nurses, we're short of respirators, we're short of beds’, they can come and supply those things immediately.”

Northwell Health Chairman of Pediatrics Dr. Charles Schleien said Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park has had to open 75 new beds.

“What has been incredibly interesting about it is that it has been a national phenomenon, but we're seeing, where we would typically see 200 children in a 24-hour period, day after day, we've basically been seeing 300 children a day,” Schleien said. “We've had to open for our emergency department, a special annex.”

RSV is a common respiratory virus that presents as a cold for most people. It can be dangerous for young children and older adults.

A surge in cases has been seen all over the nation, potentially due to weakened immune systems in children who grew up sheltered from COVID-19.

Molly is a reporter covering Fairfield County. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.