The mayor of New York City, which has more than a third of the nation's coronavirus cases, on Sunday described the outbreak as the biggest domestic crisis since the Great Depression and called for the U.S. military to mobilize to help keep the healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed.
New York state, meanwhile, now has more coronavirus cases than France or South Korea as the number of confirmed infections soared to 15,168, according to new data released by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday.
According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, New York's outbreak is the worst in the United States. It has more COVID-19 cases than France, South Korea, Switzerland and the U.K. Washington state has the next highest number of cases at 1,647 followed by California with 1,518, according to a chart Cuomo presented at a press conference in Albany.
New York has asked the federal government to nationalize the purchase of medical equipment, Cuomo said. He has signed off on several locations to build temporary hospitals to treat coronavirus patients.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will build temporary hospitals in Stony Brook, Westbury, Westchester and the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, which will contain four federal hospitals with 250 beds each.
The federal government must nationalize the purchase of needed medical supplies, Cuomo said. The shortage of medical masks and life-saving equipment like respirators is leading to price gouging. Masks that used to cost 85 cents are now $7, “why because I’m competing against other states,” he said.
“Currently when states are doing it, we are competing against other states. In some cases, we’re savaging other states,” Cuomo said. “This is just an impossible situation to manage, if we don’t get the equipment, we could lose lives that we could otherwise save if we had the equipment.”
In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he is facing the greatest national crisis since the stock market collapse and massive unemployment of the 1930s.
"If we don’t get more ventilators in the next 10 days people will die who don’t have to die," said de Blasio as the nation's most populous city saw cases top 8,000 and deaths hit 60. Nationwide cases are over 25,000 with at least 340 dead, according to a Reuters tally.
"This is going to be the greatest crisis domestically since the Great Depression," he told CNN, referring to the economic crisis of the 1930s. "This is why we need a full-scale mobilization of the American military."
He warned that the worst is yet to come with April looking worse than March and May perhaps even worse.
De Blasio said the city is not getting needed medical supplies from the federal government to contend with the rapid spread of the sometimes deadly respiratory illness COVID-19.
"If the president does not act, people will die who could have lived otherwise,” de Blasio told NBC.
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Twitter on Sunday that U.S. automakers Ford Motor Co, General Motors Co and Tesla Inc had been given the green light to produce ventilators and other items desperately needed during the coronavirus outbreak.
The lockdown affecting large segments of the American public to try to curb the spread of the coronavirus is likely to last 10 to 12 weeks, or until early June, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday.
Americans are adapting to the biggest change in daily life since World War Two with schools closed, sports canceled and economic upheaval as job losses mount with the shuttering of businesses across many industries.
Hospitals are scrambling for protective equipment for healthcare workers and for ventilators as they brace for a wave of patients who will need help breathing as severe cases often lead to pneumonia and decreased lung function.
The virus has killed over 13,000 globally and infected more than 300,000 in over 170 countries.
Lawmakers in Washington are nearing a deal that could pump a record $1 trillion into the economy to limit the economic damage from the coronavirus.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told "Fox News Sunday" that he hopes Congress will vote on the bill on Monday. Proposed payments to an average family of four would be $3,000 and would only be one-time for now, he said.
Nearly one in four Americans, or 80 million, were under orders to close up shop and stay home as New York, California, Illinois, Connecticut and New Jersey instituted statewide lockdowns. "Unless we tell people to stay home and to stop interacting in the way they were, we are going to see more and more, thousands more, tens of thousands of more deaths than we otherwise would,” Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker told CNN on Sunday.
© 2022 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.