In the complete absence of federal leadership, governors have been required to make do and find medical equipment and supplies on their own during the national emergency.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that seven states would form a regional consortium to ensure that they were ready for any future emergency with a 90-day supply of personal protective equipment.

LONG ISLAND, NY — On Sunday, Day 64 since the New York shutdown, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a seven-state regional purchasing consortium to procure personal protective equipment, tests, ventilators and other medical equipment.

The regional purchasing consortium will include New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, Cuomo said.

When the coronavirus crisis first hit, the equipment situation, Cuomo said, was one “no one anticipated. We couldn’t get enough gowns or masks,” he said.

To that end, looking ahead, every hospital will be required to have a 90-day stockpile of their own PPE onhand, a supply based on the same daily rate of usage seen during the COVID-19 crisis.

“We can’t go through day to day moving of masks across the state. This mad scramble we were in and still are in,” Cuomo said. “As a nation, we can’t go through this again.”

Throughout the past weeks, Cuomo has called for a federal approach to PPE procurement, stating that states cannot be pitted against one another, competing against one another to acquire PPE from overseas. That competition among states, he said Sunday, drove up prices.

New York State alone, he said, will buy $2 billion of medical supplies this year; the seven northeast states, he said, will buy $5 billion.

By joining forces, he said, there will be an ability to bring prices down and get the equipment that’s needed. The consortium, he said, will identify regional PPE needs, identify and avoid “irresponsible vendors,” and focus on buying American and buying regionally.