The United States now has the world's biggest and fastest-growing coronavirus outbreak, with more than 92,000 confirmed cases across the country.

The US is now recording more new coronavirus cases per day than anywhere else in the world, although Italy has a higher fatality rate. Italy has recorded the second most total coronavirus cases at 86,498 - 9134 of them fatal - and China is in third with 81,340.

And the rate of spread in America - 16,819 new cases yesterday alone - suggests that the peak of the outbreak is still weeks away.

A patient, right, waits to be directed into a Covid-19 testing test by a medical worker outside Elmhurst Hospital Centre in New York. Photo / AP
A patient, right, waits to be directed into a Covid-19 testing test by a medical worker outside Elmhurst Hospital Centre in New York. Photo / AP

New York City has become the new epicentre of the global pandemic. On Friday, the city recorded 519 deaths, up from 365 deaths on Thursday, which is a rate faster than cities such as Madrid and Lombardy, Italy's worst-hit region.


New York alone recorded 6103 cases on Thursday (US time) - just behind Italy, which had 6203 cases yesterday.

The Big Apple has the fastest-growing death rate, with the death toll doubling nearly every 1.5 days. By comparison, Lombardy saw a doubling every three days.

Italy's older population means its fatality rate is 10.19 per cent, much higher than America's 1.5 per cent fatality rate.

However, the number of cases being recorded every day in the US now far exceeds the number of cases that China ever admitted to at the peak of the outbreak despite China's larger population. However, there are suspicions that China has been covering up the extent of the coronavirus outbreak from the start.

Coronavirus COVID19: A couple self isolate in a small hotel room. Video / Supplied

The higher number of cases per day in America could also be due to the large number of tests being carried out in New York state - which is about 25 per cent of all test being performed in the US.

The figures seem to indicate the pandemic will reach all corners of the nation even as President Donald Trump repeated his calls to see the lockdown lifted by Easter Sunday, April 12.

At New York City-area hospitals on the front lines of the biggest coronavirus outbreak in the nation, workers are increasingly concerned about the ravages of the illness in their own ranks, and that the lack of testing and protective gear is making it not a matter of if they get it, but when.

"Our emergency room was like a petri dish," said Benny Mathew, a nurse at Montefiore Medical Centre who got word Thursday that he had Covid-19 and is now worried he may infect his wife and two daughters.


"I'm angry. We could have secured enough personal protective equipment months ago. It was happening in China since December," he said. "But we thought it was never going to happen here."

A patient, right, waits to be directed into a Covid-19 testing test by a medical worker outside Elmhurst Hospital Centre in New York. Photo / AP
A patient, right, waits to be directed into a Covid-19 testing test by a medical worker outside Elmhurst Hospital Centre in New York. Photo / AP

Some hospitals in the city, now the epicentre of the virus in the US, are now so overrun with dying patients that they've brought in refrigerated trucks to handle the bodies.

At Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, 13 people succumbed to the virus in one day. City ambulances have seen a surge in calls, responding to nearly 5800 on Thursday alone.

As the virus moves nationwide other states are rushing to try and stop its spread.

New Zealand has another 85 new coronavirus cases today and one patient is now being treated in a hospital intensive care unit.

Texas joined other states Thursday in imposing quarantines on travelers from the New York area and put similar restrictions on people arriving from nearby New Orleans as the number of cases there surges dramatically.

By requiring anyone arriving by plane from New Orleans and the New York area - including New Jersey and Connecticut - to quarantine for 14 days, Texas became the latest state to race to isolate travelers coming from places where the coronavirus crisis is most severe.


Governors in Florida and Maryland announced similar restrictions this week pertaining to New York.

New Orleans is also becoming a major centre of Covid-19 worries, as the number of cases Thursday surpassed 2300 and deaths climbed to 86.

Italy is still the hardest-hit country in terms of deaths, with more than 8000 fatalities. China, where the pandemic began in December, has recorded more than 3000 deaths.

The number of coronavirus infections have now topped a half-million worldwide.

It comes after the World Health Organisation this week predicted a grim outlook for the US, saying that the country would quickly become the global epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic given the "very large acceleration" of confirmed infections.

Late Thursday it was reported there are now 365 deaths in New York City and more than 21,000 infections.

The wage subsidy scheme the Government launched to help coronavirus-hit workers could cost as much as $12 billion.

Louisiana is now emerging as the possible next epicentre of the US outbreak after infections rose by 30 per cent in 24 hours. That state recorded 2305 infections and 83 deaths by Thursday. Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans has been blamed for the outbreak there.

New Jersey has 6876 confirmed cases and 81 deaths, while California has more than 4000 cases and 82 deaths. Washington state, which was initially the epicentre following an outbreak at a Seattle nursing home, now has 3207 confirmed cases and 150 deaths.

It comes as new research showed the outbreak could lead to more than 80,000 deaths in the US within the next four months and overwhelm hospital capacity nationally as soon as early April even if social distancing measures are respected. The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

Forecasters at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington's School of Medicine have predicted that during the epidemic peak - set for some point in April - as many as 2300 patients could die every day.

This was the case even if the population adhered to strict social distancing measures.


New York City's convention centre is now being turned into a temporary hospital and a makeshift morgue was set up outside Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital on Wednesday to cope with a possible surge in victims.

Public health officials in New York hunted down beds and medical equipment and put out a call for more doctors and nurses for fear the number of sick will explode in a matter of weeks, overwhelming hospitals as has happened in Italy and Spain.

In a preview of what might be ahead for the US, Spain has converted hotels into makeshift hospitals and turned an ice rink in Madrid into a temporary morgue. The curve of infections has not slowed in Spain, which now has more than 4100 deaths, second only to Italy's death toll.

Faced with the exponential spread of the pandemic, the US Senate passed a $2.2 trillion economic rescue package steering aid to businesses, workers and health care systems.

Millions of Americans hoped the measure would give them a lifeline as they lost jobs, income and child care due to the social-distancing rules needed to slow the spread of the virus.

At least 1.5 billion people across the world are now under severe travel restrictions.


But the head of the World Health Organisation, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, scolded world leaders for wasting precious time in the fight against the virus that has already killed more than 21,000 people, thrown millions out of work and ravaged the world economy.

He called it "public enemy No 1".

US deaths have now topped 1100, in another grim update for a global outbreak that has wreaked havoc on economies and established routines of life. Worldwide, the death toll climbed past 23,000, according to Johns Hopkins' running count.

Nearly 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week - almost five times the previous record set in 1982 - amid a widespread shutdown caused by the virus.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Congress will give final approval Friday to the $2.2 trillion economic rescue bill, a vote that would cap Congress' tumultuous effort to rush the relief to a nation battered by the coronavirus. Stocks marched higher for a third straight day Friday as the bill moved closer to passage.