NEW YORK: New York authorities mobilised to head off a public health disaster Wednesday, with the city’s emergence as the nation’s biggest Coronavirus hot spot a warning flare — and perhaps a cautionary tale — for the rest of the country as U.S. deaths from the pandemic topped 1,000, reports Associated Press.
A makeshift morgue was set up outside Bellevue Hospital, and the city’s police, their ranks dwindling as more fall ill, were told to patrol nearly empty streets to enforce social distancing.
Public health officials 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. Spanish lawmakers agreed to extending by two weeks a state of emergency that has allowed the government to maintain a national lockdown.
In Washington, the Senate in a unanimous, late-night vote passed an unparalleled $2.2 trillion economic rescue package steering aid to businesses, workers and health care systems that is the largest economic relief bill in U.S. history. The House could pass it Friday.
Worldwide, the death toll climbed past 21,000, according to a running count kept by Johns Hopkins University. The number of dead in the U.S. rose to 1,041 as of late Wednesday, with nearly 70,000 infections.
New York State alone accounted for more than 30,000 cases and close to 300 deaths, most of them in New York City.