Officials plea for volunteers as New York state virus toll spikes - GulfToday

Officials plea for volunteers as New York state virus toll spikes


Health workers load a deceased person into a trailer outside of the Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York. File/Reuters

New York state's coronavirus toll continued rising at a devastating pace Saturday, as authorities issued an emergency plea for volunteers to assist at US outbreak epicenter.


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The state has recorded 3,565 deaths as Governor Andrew Cuomo warned the worst was yet to come.

Cuomo said infections could peak in the state in four to 14 days -- but he cautioned that already strained hospitals were not yet prepared.

Governor Andrew Cuomo briefs the media inside a nearly completed makeshift hospital in New York. File/AP

"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.

‘Like an entire lifetime’

The death toll in the state was up from 2,935 the previous day; the additional 630 deaths represented the largest 24-hour spike recorded there.

New York's statewide total is now roughly 6,000 shy of hard-hit Italy's total number of cases.

New York City, meanwhile, has tallied 63,306 confirmed cases and 2,624 deaths.

People wait outside a supermarket to enter in small numbers in an effort to curb coronavirus in New York. File/AP

Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said Saturday that projections estimate patterns of spread in the United States are approximately 12 days behind Italy and Spain.

Cuomo said recent weeks have felt "like an entire lifetime."

"I think we all feel the same, these stresses, this country, this state -- like nothing I've experienced in my lifetime."

He said the federal government will now staff and equip the overflow hospital set up at Manhattan's sprawling Javits Convention Center -- which has 2,500 beds -- to treat coronavirus patients.

President Donald Trump said 1,000 military personnel, mostly doctors and nurses, would be deployed to New York City to "assist where they're needed the most."

President Donald Trump walks from Marine One after returning to the White House in Washington. File/AP

"That's the hottest of all the hot spots," the president said at the White House.

Some 85,000 volunteers -- including 22,000 from out of state -- have signed up to help in New York.

Hours earlier, New York City sent a wireless emergency alert to its 8.6 million residents urging licensed health workers to volunteer.

"Anyone who's not already in this fight, we need you," said Mayor Bill de Blasio, urgently seeking help from "any health care professional: doctor, nurse, respiratory therapist, you name it."

The mayor has estimated the city will need 45,000 more medical personnel to fight the pandemic through April and May.

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