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New York virus deaths surge past 3,500

New York virus deaths surge past 3,500

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Media captionPresident Trump: “We want as few lives lost as possible”

New York state has recorded 630 more coronavirus deaths, another daily record that takes its toll to 3,565.

Most deaths have been in New York City. The state now has almost as many cases – over 113,000 – as the whole of Italy.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said infections could peak in between four and 14 days.

“Part of me would like to be at the apex and just let’s do it. But there’s part of me that says it’s good that we’re not at the apex because we’re not yet ready,” he said.

Mr Cuomo said the state was continuing its search for more ventilators. He thanked China for sending 1,000 ventilators, which were due to arrive on Saturday. The state of Oregon would deliver 140 more, he said.

In his daily coronavirus briefing, US President Donald Trump said he had assured Mr Cuomo that New York would get the resources it needs.

However, Mr Trump said federal assistance will now be focused on the hardest-hit areas, adding: “There will be a lot of death, unfortunately.”

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New York City hospitals have reported equipment shortages

The US has more than 300,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 8,000 people have died with the virus.

Globally, more than 60,000 people have died and more than 1.1 million have been infected, Johns Hopkins University in the US says.

What’s the latest in New York?

The state has counted 113,074 confirmed cases, 63,036 of them in New York City.

Mr Cuomo said the number of cases and deaths were now rising at a slower rate in New York City, but there was a worrying increase in cases in nearby Long Island.

Meanwhile a new overflow hospital – the 2,500-bed Javits Center in Manhattan – would be staffed and equipped by the federal government, he said.

Some 85,000 people, about a quarter of them from other states, have signed up to help tackle the outbreak in New York, the worst in the US.

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New York state is the epicentre of the coronavirus crisis in the US

New York City’s mayor has sent messages to its eight million inhabitants urging qualified healthcare workers to volunteer.

“Anyone who’s not already in this fight, we need you,” said Bill de Blasio, appealing for help from “any health care professional: Doctor, nurse, respiratory therapist, you name it”.

Mr de Blasio has estimated that the city needs 45,000 more medical staff to help tackle the pandemic in April and May.

Earlier he urged residents to wear masks – “that could be a scarf or something you make yourself, a bandana” – when they go out.

What did President Trump say in his briefing?

Speaking at the White House on Saturday, President Trump gave a candid assessment of what lies ahead for the US in the coming weeks.

Next week, Mr Trump said, would “probably be the toughest” yet, warning Americans to brace themselves for “a lot of death”.

To support states in their fight against Covid-19, Mr Trump said his administration would be deploying a “tremendous amount of military, thousands of soldiers, medical workers, professionals”.

The military personnel will “soon” be advised of their assignments, he said, adding that “1,000 military personnel” were being deployed to New York City.

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Media captionTrump doesn’t see face mask necessary behind ‘the great Resolute desk’

Mr Trump also addressed his use of the Defence Production Act, a Korean-War-era law which gives him powers to control the production and supply of US-made medical products.

He said he was “very disappointed” with 3M, a US company that makes masks, saying it “should be taking care of our country” instead of selling to others.

But he rejected accusations that the US had committed an act of “modern piracy” by redirecting 200,000 Germany-bound masks for its own use.

On the question of easing social-distancing restrictions, Mr Trump reiterated a familiar theme.

“We need to open our country,” Mr Trump said, without giving a timeline. “The cure cannot be worse than the problem itself.”

Trump’s lockdown frustration grows

Analysis by BBC North America correspondent, Peter Bowes

By returning to the theme that “the cure cannot be worse than the problem”, President Trump again revealed his frustration that America is still at a standstill.

Mr Trump has repeatedly expressed his desire to get people out of their homes and back to work.

While opining that the virus had to be vanquished quickly, Mr Trump restated his view that more people could die because of measures being taken to mitigate the impact of Covid-19, than the disease itself.

He warned that some hard decisions had to be made. “We cannot let this continue,” he added, referring to nation’s stagnation. “We’re not going to destroy our country.”

What else is happening in the US?

  • The US Navy says nearly half the crew of aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt – which has docked in Guam after virus cases were feared on board – have been tested and there have been 155 confirmed cases. No one has been transferred to hospital and 1,548 sailors have left the vessel and gone ashore. Earlier this week the ship’s commander was removed after he accused the navy of not doing enough to halt the outbreak.
  • President Donald Trump has said he will not wear a face mask despite new medical guidance advising Americans to do so. He could not see himself greeting “presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens” in the Oval Office while wearing one, he said.
  • Another virus hotspot, the southern state of Louisiana, said deaths had jumped by 20% to 370 on Friday, with 10,000 confirmed cases. Governor John Bel Edwards urged residents to respect his stay-at-home order, asking them to “do a better job”. The outbreak in New Orleans has a per capita death rate twice as high as New York’s. Doctors and public health officials have suggested that high rates of obesity and related conditions could be playing a role, Reuters reports.
  • Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he would not retaliate after President Trump blocked exports of personal protective equipment for medical staff. He had earlier said it would be a “mistake” for the US to block trade when the US receives the help of Canadian nurses.

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Media captionPM Justin Trudeau says it would be a ‘mistake’ for the US to block medical supplies from Canada

What about the rest of the world?

  • The UK saw a record number of deaths in a day – 708 – but the number of confirmed new coronavirus cases fell. The total number of people who have died in hospitals is now 4,313.
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s pregnant fiancée Carrie Symonds said she had spent several days in bed with symptoms of the virus. She said she was “on the mend” after seven days of rest. Mr Johnson tested positive for the virus last week and has been conducting cabinet meetings via video link.
  • Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said the country is “close to passing the peak of infections” as the number of coronavirus deaths fell for the second day in a row. Mr Sánchez also extended lockdown measures until 25 April, saying the restrictions were “saving lives”. The toll of 809 deaths in one day is the lowest in Spain for a week.
  • Italy has seen its first drop in the number of patients in intensive care during the outbreak. The number of new deaths – 681 – has taken the country’s death toll to 15,362 but is smaller than in previous days.
  • China observed a three-minute silence in remembrance of more than 3,000 people who died of coronavirus in the country. In Wuhan, where the virus was first detected, all traffic lights turned red temporarily.
  • Kuwait has recorded its first death, and a 79-year-old woman has become the first person to die of coronavirus in Georgia.

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