Amid staggering number of coronavirus deaths, New York cries for medical volunteers

AP

World, America

Even before the governor’s appeal, close to 80,000 former nurses, doctors and other professionals were stepping up to volunteer

A worker moves items at a Federal Medical Station for hospital surge capacity set up at Temple University's Liacouras Center in Philadelphia. (Photo- AP)

New York: New York’s governor urgently appealed for medical volunteers Monday amid a “staggering” number of coronavirus deaths, as he and health officials warned that the crisis unfolding in New York City is just a preview of what other U.S. communities could soon face.

“Please come help us in New York now,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said as the state’s death toll climbed by more than 250 people in a day to a total of over 1,200, most of them in the city. He said an additional 1 million health care workers are needed to tackle the crisis.

“We’ve lost over 1,000 New Yorkers,” Cuomo said. “To me, we’re beyond staggering already. We’ve reached staggering.”

Even before the governor’s appeal, close to 80,000 former nurses, doctors and other professionals were stepping up to volunteer, and a Navy hospital ship, also sent to the city after 9/11, had arrived with 1,000 beds to relieve pressure on overwhelmed hospitals.

“Whatever it is that they need, I’m willing to do,” said Jerry Kops, a musician and former nurse whose tour with the show Blue Man Group was abruptly halted by the outbreak.

The spike in deaths in New York was another sign of the long fight ahead against the global pandemic, which was filling Spain’s intensive care beds and shutting millions of Americans inside even as the crisis in China, where the outbreak began in December, kept easing.

More than 235 million people about two of every three Americans live in the 33 states where governors have declared statewide orders or recommendations to stay home.

In California, officials put out a similar call for medical volunteers as coronavirus hospitalizations doubled over the last four days and the number of patients in intensive care tripled.

“Challenging times are ahead for the next 30 days, and this is a very vital 30 days,” President Donald Trump told reporters. “The more we dedicate ourselves today, the more quickly we will emerge on the other side of the crisis.”

In Europe, meanwhile, hard-hit Italy and Spain saw their death tolls climb by more than 800 each, but the World Health Organization’s emergency chief said cases there were “potentially stabilizing.” At the same time, he warned against letting up on tough containment measures.

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