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Jon Makay, of Harlem, wears an octopus hat to fend off coronavirus, Wednesday, in New York's Times Square. Photo: AP
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New York mobilizes against onslaught from virus

38 Comments
By JENNIFER PELTZ and COLLEEN LONG

Just days after New York leaders ordered people to stay home, authorities mobilized to head off a potential 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.

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 the way the virus did in Italy and Spain. New York University offered to let its medical students graduate early so that they could join the battle.

Worldwide, the death toll climbed past 20,000, according to a running count kept by Johns Hopkins University. The number of dead in the U.S. topped 800, with more than 60,000 infections.

New York State alone accounted for more than 30,000 cases and close to 300 deaths, most of them in New York City.

Gov Andrew Cuomo, again pleading for help in dealing with the onslaught, attributed the cluster to the city's role as a gateway to international travelers and the sheer density of its population, with 8.6 million people sharing subways, elevators, apartment buildings and offices.

“Our closeness makes us vulnerable,” he said. "But it's true that your greatest weakness is also your greatest strength. And our closeness is what makes us who we are. That is what New York is."

Some public health experts also attributed the city's burgeoning caseload in part to the state's big push to test people.

Troy Tassier, a Fordham University professor who studies economic epidemiology, suggested the increase shows New York would have fared better had it acted sooner to order social distancing.

Nearly 7 million people in the San Francisco area were all but confined to their homes on March 17, and California put all 40 million of its residents under a near-lockdown three days later.

The order to stay at home in New York State did not go into effect until Sunday evening, March 22, and New York City's 1.1 million-student school system was not closed until March 15, well after other districts had shut down.

Dr Mark Dworkin, an epidemiology professor at University of Illinois-Chicago, said he hadn’t followed New York’s situation closely enough to say whether he would have done it differently, but he noted that moving quickly is critical -- and sometimes difficult to do at early points, when the public doesn’t sense an imminent threat.

“At first, I think there’s a certain amount of disbelief that goes on," he said. “I think that contributes, to some extent, to the lack of putting the foot on the gas pedal on some of the control measures that we know we need to do."

After New York's first positive test came back on March 2 — in a health care worker who had traveled to Iran and secluded herself upon returning — Mayor Bill de Blasio and Cuomo initially cast the disease as a dangerous threat but one that the city’s muscular hospital system could handle.

The risk to most New Yorkers, they said, was relatively low.

But their message shifted, as it did with many other leaders, who found themselves acting on new information in an uncharted, fast-changing situation.

Tassier said it wasn't too late: "We can still make things better than they would be otherwise.”

Around the country, other states braced for a version of New York's nightmare, with fears over public events held in the weeks before the virus exploded.

A month after Mardi Gras in and around New Orleans, Louisiana is seeing a ballooning number of cases and now has the third-highest rate per capita in the U.S., according to the governor. Sixty-five have died, and the virus has been confirmed in three-quarters of the state's 64 parishes.

Small towns and rural areas are beginning to sound the alarm as well.

In Georgia, a state that has seen cases grow to more than 1,200, an Albany hospital's three intensive care units were already full, and doctors were working to discharge people as quickly as possible to make way for new patients.

"We’re quickly approaching the point of maximum capacity. We need a relief valve," said Steven Kitchen, chief medical officer at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

© Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.


38 Comments
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LOL Nice Mask. Probably just as effective too

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Spain and Italy - now New York City. Too many young people are not taking this seriously and it’s led to tragic results.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

That's not an octopus mask, it's Cthulhu! Beware the Goat With A Thousand Young!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Gov Andrew Cuomo, again pleading for help in dealing with the onslaught,

I understand the crisis, but he was ranting on TV about Trump this and that, Dems always love to blame the Feds in these times, they did the same exact same thing during Katrina.

Step up and take responsibility, like California did.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

“At first, I think there’s a certain amount of disbelief that goes on,"

and when that disbelief is reinforced by 'leaders' who downplay its severity (more concerned about their re-election than the general public's health); reinforced by their media saying things like 'it's just like a cold or the flu'; further reinforced by online trolls and flamers (paid and 'volunteer') pooh-poohing its severity; and especially when medical and scientific experts are ignored, problems snowball. And the world is put at greater risk.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

My brother and his wife live in New York. They have both loss their work because of the pandemic. Their monthly outgoing are very high. He sent photo's of empty streets. He said like after the 9/11. but then you could see the enemy.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

New York needs 20,000 ventilators but Trump just released 8,000 from a national stock of 30,000.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

New York needs 20,000 ventilators but Trump just released 8,000 from a national stock of 30,000.

your saying that Cumo has no access to mfgs around the country and world? His brother in the media...no connections? Show me the numbers...what did Cumo initially do when the crisis started? I dont need rants about Trump this and that. What did Cumo do? The Dem clown in New Orleans did the same thing during Katrina, (lots of rants about the Feds this and that) but it was shown later that he had access to many resources but was too incompetent to leverage them.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Words like "onslaught" are a bit much.  The damage to livelihoods and so on are precautionary, not because people are dying in the streets.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Need the transcript, the dialogue with FEMA, all of it. Im betting something missing in his rant

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Jon Makay, of Harlem, wears an octopus hat to fend off coronavirus,

Where can I buy that China virus-fending octopus hat? LOL!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I dont need rants about Trump this and that.

posting facts isn't a rant. But Trump also said Como/NY wasn't nice to him previously.

The manufacturers of ventilators are working hard to produce more. The Feds have a stock of 30,000 but Trump only released 4,000/day for two days.

The 20,000 could be released and then moved to the next epicenter.

Normally someone on a ventilator would only be a few day, with the virus they need a few weeks.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The people of NYC will get through this - they're tough, just like after 9/11....

There's one former NYC resident who is not so tough - in fact, he's a failed reality TV host who has bankrupted six companies and does nothing but incessantly whine...

Right now he's portraying a failed US President - he should get an Emmy - he's failing every day...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

NYC morgues are near capacity

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Some public health experts also attributed the city's burgeoning caseload in part to the state's big push to test people.

One doesn't need to be a public health expert to know that.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

NYC morgues are near capacity

The majority of the carona virus cases in America are in the city of New York. What are the leaders in New York doing wrong?

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

New York is only the first epicenter, others will follow in coming weeks.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Troy Tassier, a Fordham University professor who studies economic epidemiology, suggested the increase shows New York would have fared better had it acted sooner to order social distancing.

The order to stay at home in New York State did not go into effect until Sunday evening, March 22, and New York City's 1.1 million-student school system was not closed until March 15, well after other districts had shut down.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Cuomo initially cast the disease as a dangerous threat but one that the city’s muscular hospital system could handle.

I guess do Blasio and Cuomo guessed wrong. Unfortunately, many New Yorkers had already LEFT the city before the wise men running the city could lock down the new "epicenter" of the Novel Virus.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

many New Yorkers had already LEFT the city before the wise men running the city could lock down the new "epicenter" of the Novel Virus.

The majority of people living in NY are in no position to leave.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

zichi - But Trump also said Como/NY wasn't nice to him previously.

The manufacturers of ventilators are working hard to produce more. The Feds have a stock of 30,000 but Trump only released 4,000/day for two days.

The 20,000 could be released and then moved to the next epicenter.

Normally someone on a ventilator would only be a few day, with the virus they need a few weeks.

There are 25,000+ cities in the U.S.. N.Y.C. thinks, and acts, like it's the only city of any importance. Many in the media agree with N.Y.C.'s self-assessment. Due to the fact that many are employed by businesses based in N.Y.C..

Lots of cities want ventilators. Lots of cities are dealing with Novel infected people. N.Y.C. can get in line with all of the other cities who would like more medical supplies.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Wolfpack - The majority of the carona virus cases in America are in the city of New York. What are the leaders in New York doing wrong?

Their biggest mistake was letting infected New Yorkers leave the city.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Troy Tassier, a Fordham University professor who studies economic epidemiology, suggested the increase shows New York would have fared better had it acted sooner to order social distancing.

The order to stay at home in New York State did not go into effect until Sunday evening, March 22, and New York City's 1.1 million-student school system was not closed until March 15, well after other districts had shut down.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Cuomo initially cast the disease as a dangerous threat but one that the city’s muscular hospital system could handle.

I guess do Blasio and Cuomo guessed wrong. Unfortunately, many New Yorkers had already LEFT the city before the wise men running the city could lock down the new "epicenter" of the Novel Virus.

Yep, they guessed wrong - by listening to Trump when he was saying the virus was "contained" and that "people should go to work", even if they have the virus. Hey, even Rush said it was "just a common cold".

Luckily, they quickly leaned that you can't trust anything that comes our of this buffoon's mouth...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

There are 25,000+ cities in the U.S.. N.Y.C. thinks, and acts, like it's the only city of any importance. Many in the media agree with N.Y.C.'s self-assessment. Due to the fact that many are employed by businesses based in N.Y.C..

Yes but not all of them have the pandemic or at different stages of the virus. At the moment NY is the largest epicenter. Once recovery starts the ventilators can be moved.

Their biggest mistake was letting infected New Yorkers leave the city.

Just guessing by you without any evidence.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Cuomo initially cast the disease as a dangerous threat but one that the city’s muscular hospital system could handle.

So did allot of people, including some on CNN. I saw it.

Now its take the path of least resistance and blame Trump.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Its very interesting; many states ignore the feds when it comes to illegal immigration, sanctuary cities and drug use, but suddenly they howl and blame the feds when they cant handle a crisis.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

https://www.modernhealthcare.com/safety-quality/trump-issues-executive-order-boost-respirator-mask-supply

https://qz.com/1824253/coronavirus-ford-3m-and-ge-collaborate-to-ramp-up-medical-equipment-production/

This is why the Presidents numbers continue to rise.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Ford steps up and Donny gets the credit? Sure, makes sense. How is this related to the article?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The majority of the carona virus cases in America are in the city of New York. What are the leaders in New York doing wrong?

Its called population density. See, NYC is a great place, so people actually want to go there, unlike red cities.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

New York 8 million people, and is also the most densely populated major city in the United States.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

zichi - Yes but not all of them have the pandemic or at different stages of the virus. At the moment NY is the largest epicenter. Once recovery starts the ventilators can be moved.

LOL. The Novel Virus is spread by PEOPLE. PEOPLE transmitting the virus to other PEOPLE. If China, or Italy, or N.Y.C. sees a rise in the numbers of infected people, it's because people were mingling with other people, spreading the virus.

N.Y.C. isn't the only city in the U.S.. They just think they are. Many of the infected have left the city and are now infecting other parts of the country. The people in those newly infected areas are also asking for more masks, and ventilators. People in many of the 25,000 cities in the U.S. are asking for more masks, and ventilators. They are not choosing to supply N.Y.C. over their own needs.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Chip Star - Its called population density. See, NYC is a great place, so people actually want to go there, unlike red cities.

Ames Iowa, and Austin Texas are also great places. If New Yorkers thought N.Y.C. was such a great place, they would not have chosen to flee the city taking their infections with them.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

arrestpaul

 Many of the infected have left the city and are now infecting other parts of the country.

you keep saying that without any evidence of your claim.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

America now has the highest numbers of corona virus cases at 83,000 which Trump claimed is because of the numbers of tests being carried out.

From April 1, millions of people who have lost their employment, will also lose their healthcare coverage.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

America now has the highest numbers of corona virus cases at 83,000 which Trump claimed is because of the numbers of tests being carried out.

That means, if Japan starts testing the numbers would probably go way up as well.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

zichi - America now has the highest numbers of corona virus cases at 83,000 which Trump claimed is because of the numbers of tests being carried out.

Are you actually claiming that the 83,000 number is due to the numbers of tests being carried out?

The actual ratio of deaths to infections will continue to drop as more tests are carried out. The early ratios were based only on the number of reported cases of people who actually felt sick enough to go to a doctor, or to a hospital.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

arrestpaul

Are you actually claiming that the 83,000 number is due to the numbers of tests being carried out?

No not me! That would be Trump who said "We are doing a great job of testing now!"

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The number of virus infected people in America will be in the hundreds of thousands.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The latest figures on coronavirus tests run so far in the U.S. were put at about 552,000, according to government officials during the Thursday's briefing of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

Asked about the fact that this country now has more known cases of the new coronavirus than any other nation, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, Trump said that is "a tribute to our testing."

https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/03/26/822271837/fact-check-testing-not-meeting-demand-despite-trumps-boasts

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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