The United States has overtaken China to become the country with the most COVID-19 cases worldwide by Thursday afternoon local time, according to Johns Hopkins University.
As of 11:30 p.m. (0330 GMT on Friday), a total of 85,653 cases were reported in the country, with 1,290 deaths, data from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at the university showed.
The nationwide tally has been growing by around 10,000 cases every day since last Saturday, and climbed from 70,000 to 80,000 in less than five hours on Thursday.
Among all 50 states and Washington D.C., New York has become the epicenter of the country’s outbreak, recording nearly 40,000 cases. Over 23,000 cases have been recorded in New York City (NYC), the largest city in the country with 8.6 million residents.
A high level of population density has accelerated the spread of COVID-19, according to experts and officials, who urged people to stay home and maintain social distancing while outside.
“We remain deeply concerned about New York City and the New York metro area,” said Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, at a briefing on Tuesday.
She said anyone who has recently left this area should self-quarantine for 14 days “to ensure that the virus doesn’t spread to others.”
The New York state is scouting new sites for building temporary hospitals, besides four locations already confirmed, to serve as quarantine centers, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Thursday.
The state aims to have a 1,000-plus patient overflow facility in all five boroughs of NYC as well as some downstate counties hit hard by COVID-19, including Westchester, Rockland, Nassau and Suffolk counties, said Cuomo.
The governor said earlier this week that the COVID-19 cases may peak in two to three weeks, and the state will need some 140,000 hospital beds by then. The state currently has some 53,000.
New York’s Neighboring state, New Jersey, ranks the second in terms of COVID-19 caseload with over 6,800 cases as of Thursday night.
Governor Phil Murphy announced on Thursday that President Donald Trump has issued a Major Disaster Declaration for New Jersey, which will enhance a statewide response to COVID-19 by providing federal assistance.
In California, more than 4,000 people have been infected by the novel coronavirus with 62 deaths. Medical workers are running out of face masks, especially N95 masks, as well as other personal protective devices and disinfection products. Some have appealed for donations from the public.
Governor Gavin Newsom said Wednesday that California has distributed 24.5 million N95 masks and has placed orders for an additional 100 million to address the shortage of medical supplies.
Wang Mingli, organizer of a medical supplies donation campaign in Palos Verdes, Los Angeles County, told Xinhua that within two hours on Sunday 137 N95 masks and 2,207 one-time-use surgical masks were received from the local Chinese American community.
“We donated all the 137 N95 masks to Community Hospital Long Beach and sent one-time-use surgical masks to a local senior care center,” Wang said.
Nationwide, U.S. companies have joined the efforts to tackle the N95 mask shortage.
Apple CEO Tim Cook announced last week that his company has “been working to help source supplies for healthcare providers fighting COVID-19.”
“We’re donating millions of masks for health professionals in the U.S. and Europe,” he tweeted.
Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook, said his company has donated 720,000 masks in its emergency reserve and is “working on sourcing millions of more to donate.”
Elon Musk, co-founder and CEO at Tesla, has reportedly pledged to distribute 250,000 N95 masks among hospitals. He said on Twitter last week that Tesla will donate more than 1,000 ventilators from China to hospitals in Los Angeles.
Source: Xinhua – NEW YORK