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Iran Press TV

Coronavirus cases in New York overwhelming hospitals in US epicenter

Iran Press TV

Friday, 27 March 2020 10:06 AM

Coronavirus cases in the state and city of New York continue to surge, with hospital staff working extra shifts and searching desperately for more medical supplies as they battle a quickly growing death toll and infections at the US epicenter of the global pandemic.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, the majority of patients in New York and other US cities were the elderly or sick, but more young and healthy people are now becoming seriously ill, US public health officials and medical personnel say.

"Now it's 50-year-olds, 40-year-olds, 30-year-olds," one respiratory therapist, who works at the Jewish Medical Center in the New York City borough of Queens, told AFP.

They "didn't listen about not going out or protecting themselves and washing their hands," he added.

"To watch somebody in their thirties die, it's hard. You can't have visitors. They're in the room by themselves on a ventilator. It's very depressing."

New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered hospitals to increase their capacity by 50 percent, or even double it if possible, as the state's coronavirus death tally soars.

New York City is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the US, where cases have been doubling every three days and now account for more than half of all US cases.

The number of COVID-19 cases in New York City increased by 3,537 to 21,393, Cuomo said Thursday. At least 385 people have died.

Across New York state, more than 37,000 people have been confirmed with a coronavirus infection and over 5,300 have been hospitalized, Cuomo added.

The state is projecting the number of hospitalizations will climb to 140,000 over the next two to three weeks, he added.

"We have a lot of deceased patients," said a nurse at Mount Sinai Morningside hospital in Manhattan who wished to remain anonymous. "It's mostly cardiac arrests. It's getting rough."

The number of US coronavirus infections climbed above 82,000 on Thursday, surpassing the national tallies of China and Italy, as New York, New Orleans and other hot spots faced a surge in hospitalizations and looming shortages of supplies, staff and sick beds.

US health experts have warned that the peak of the coronavirus pandemic in New York is likely to occur in two or three weeks, prompting more stress and anxiety for medical workers who are already at maximum capacity.

"The next few months will be painful and stress our health care system like never before," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted Thursday.

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