New York state's death toll from the coronavirus outbreak surged above above 1000, less than a month after the first case was detected in the state.
New York City reported in the evening that its toll had risen to 776. The total number of statewide deaths isn't expected to be released tomorrow, but with at least 250 additional deaths recorded outside the city, the state's total fatalities was at least 1026.
The virus and the disease it causes, Covid-19, has torn through New York with frightening speed in a month.
The first known infection in the state was discovered on March 1 in a healthcare worker who recently returned from Iran. Two days later, the state got its second case, a lawyer from the suburb of New Rochelle.
By March 10, Governor Andrew Cuomo had declared a "containment area" in New Rochelle that shut area schools and houses of worship. That same day, the metropolitan area saw its first fatality: a man who worked at a harness track in Yonkers and lived in New Jersey.
By March 12, the state had banned all gatherings of more than 500 people, darkening Broadway theatres and sports arenas.
New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio closed New York City's schools on March 15.
More severe restrictions came on March 20, when Cuomo ordered all nonessential workers to stay home, barred gatherings of any size and instructed anyone out in public to stay at least 2m from other people.
At the time, only 35 New Yorkers had been killed by the virus.
That was only nine days ago.
Here are the latest coronavirus developments in New York:
'UNPRECEDENTED' SURGE IN 911 CALLS
New Yorkers are hearing a constant wail of sirens as weary ambulance crews respond to a record volume of emergency calls.The city's ambulances are responding to about 6000 calls a day — more than 50 per cent more than average. Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said that the last five days have been the busiest stretch in the history of the city's EMS operation. "This is unprecedented," de Blasio said. "We have never seen our EMS system get this many calls — ever."
MAYOR: DAYS BEFORE SUPPLIES RUN OUT
De Blasio said he has asked the federal Government to deliver 400 more ventilators to city hospitals by Thursday and warned that without reinforcements the city will run out of masks, gowns and other hospital supplies in a week. With the expected peak of cases in the city still two to three weeks away, de Blasio said he has asked the US military to aid in sending needs new waves of doctors, nurses and other medical personnel to the city. Cuomo said that more than 76,000 health professionals, including many who've recently retired from the field, have volunteered to help in the coronavirus fight. The USNS Comfort, a Navy hospital ship with 1000 beds, 12 operating rooms and a full medical staff, is scheduled to arrive in the city tomorrow. It will be used to treat non-coronavirus patients to free up space in city hospitals. A 68-bed field hospital is being built in Manhattan's Central Park.
POOR NEIGHBOURHOODS HIT HARD
Coronavirus is overwhelming some of New York City's poorest neighbourhoods, according to new data released by the city. Queens accounts for 32 per cent of the city's confirmed cases as of yesterday — more than any other borough. Jackson Heights, Elmhurst and Corona, which are generally poor, densely packed and have large non-English speaking populations, have been among the hardest hit. In those areas, between 69 per cent and 86 per cent of the tests done have come back positive.
EARLY PATIENT GOES HOME
The number of patients being discharged at the state's hospitals after they've been treated for coronavirus has increased daily to a high of 845 yesterday, Cuomo said. In all, more than 3500 people have been discharged. They include a lawyer from the New York City suburbs connected to one of the earliest US coronavirus clusters. Lawrence Garbuz's family and neighbour were infected, as well as members of his synagogue. "The 'patient zero' — what we call patient zero in Westchester, New Rochelle — who was very sick for a very long time, he has actually gone home," Cuomo said today. "He's out of the hospital." More than 8,500 people remain hospitalised across the state because of the disease, including more than 2000 in intensive care. Those totals are continuing to spike, but Cuomo said they're not multiplying nearly as quickly as they were last week. From March 16-19, the number of hospitalisations in the state doubled every two days. Now it's taking about six days for the number to double.
STATE PUSHES FOR MORE FEDERAL MONEY
Cuomo spoke to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after lambasting the federal Government for giving the state a fraction of needed funding as it faces a potential revenue shortfall of up to US$15 billion due to the economic damaged caused by the virus. "They committed to right the wrong in the next federal bill that passes, and the governor is committed to working with them to make that a reality," Cuomo senior adviser Richard Azzoparadi said. Schumer called the conversation "long and productive."