The United States has diagnosed 22,000 cases of coronavirus as hospitals in New York begin to buckle under the strain of treating sufferers.
America hit the grim tally on Saturday morning, with diagnoses more than doubling in two days. It was confirmed as New York diagnosed 3,000 new cases overnight, bringing the total number of diagnoses in the Empire State to 10,000. The number of coronavirus suffers has soared at an alarming rate, with the United States having just 101 coronavirus diagnoses on March 1 this year.
New York has been hardest hit by Covid-19, the name of the new coronavirus strain, with 10,000 cases. 56 deaths had been reported prior to Saturday’s new total, with an updated tally yet to be shared. A total of 276 people are known to have been killed by coronavirus across the US so far.
Speaking at a press conference Saturday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said New York City had 6,000 diagnoses, and said the high number was a result of mass-testing across the state.
He explained: ‘We are testing more people per capita than anywhere else in the world. More than China, more than South Korea.’ Cuomo said diagnosis numbers were starting to fall in Westchester County, New York State’s original hot spot, two weeks after a quarantine was imposed.
He also called on New Yorkers and other Americans to keep calm, saying: ‘Society functions. You do not need to buy 10,000 rolls of toilet paper. Where are you even going to put them?’
Governor Cuomo unveiled plans to turn facilities in the city – including the huge Javits Convention Center in Manhattan – into makeshift hospitals, and said the city had ordered two million 3M N95 masks to protect the city’s medical workers who will treat coronavirus patients.
The governor also warned New Yorkers they were in for a long slog to beat the virus, saying: ‘I do not believe it’s going to be a matter of weeks (to beat the virus).
‘I believe it’s going to be a matter of months, but we are going to get through it. It’s up to us.’ Gov Cuomo called on younger people to stop hanging out in groups to help speed-up his state’s recovery, and said: ‘It’s up to us. It depends on what we do.’
Two people an hour died of the disease in New York City on Friday between 10pm and 6pm on Friday.
One hospital in the Bronx is running low on ventilators – used to help patients whose lungs have been attacked by Covid-19 breathe – while an elderly woman suffering coronavirus died on the floor of a hospital in Queens.
Washington state is in second place, with 1,524 diagnoses and 83 deaths. And California has the third most Covid-19 cases in the US, with 1,255 cases and 24 deaths.
Diagnoses in New York soared after Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered widespread testing in a bid to establish just how bad the outbreak was, and to give officials a better idea of how to contain it.
Donald Trump has declared the entire state a major disaster area, with the US Army now poised to move in to help maintain order, and take over empty hotels and college dorm rooms to turn them into makeshift hospitals.
He has also dispatched US Navy medical ship the Comfort to New York to provide futher capacity to treat patients, amid fears the city could run out of ventilators by the end of the month, and be forced to leave thousands of vulnerable patients to die.