NEW YORK – As the death toll of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States plummeted past 1,000 people, hospitals and government authorities in New York, New Orleans and other hot spots hit Thursday with a surge in cases and a terrible lack of supplies, staff and sick beds.
Medical facilities run on ventilators and protective masks and are avoided by limited testing capacity as the number of United States confirmed cases of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, has increased nearly 70,000.
“Any situation that is realistic will exceed the capacity of the health system,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a news conference. The expected shortcomings of ventilators – machines that support breathing for people who are out of breath – are huge, he said.
“The number of ventilators we needed was extremely astronomical – not like they were sitting in the warehouse,” Cuomo added. “No stockpile available.”
The state’s death toll stood at 385, up from 285 the day before, the highest in the country. Based on the large number of hospitals being hospitalized with ventilators, this number is expected to continue to increase, Cuomo said. The number of confirmed infections in New York rose to 37,000 – about half of the total U.S. – including 6,400 the previous day.
The goal is to reach a capacity of 140,000 hospital beds, up from the current 53,000, and authorities are monitoring the new sites, Cuomo said.
Asked about media reports of some New York City health care workers using plastic trash bags to try to protect themselves, Cuomo acknowledged the issue of distributing protective equipment and said there was enough stock for “immediate need” but not for longer term.
New York hospitals are scrambling to comply with Cuomo’s directive to increase capacity by at least 50%. At the Mount Sinai Hospital location on the Upper East Side, rooms were built within an atrium to open up more space for beds.
At the Elmhurst Hospital in New York’s guard, a hundred people, many wearing masks with their hoops drawn, stood in line behind barriers outside the entrance to the emergency room, waiting to enter a tent to be screened for coronavirus.
Deborah White, vice chair of emergency medicine at Jack D. Weiler Hospital in the city’s Bronx borough, said 80% of visits to her emergency room were patients with coronavirus-like symptoms.
“We are rapidly discharging patients who may be discharged and we are developing our surge plan throughout the hospital system,” White said. “This is an urgent drug.”
A running tally kept by Johns Hopkins University showed that at least 1,124 people in the United States died from COVID-19, which proved especially dangerous to older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions.
NEW ORLEANS PROBLEM
While New York is the coronavirus epicenter in the United States today, Louisiana – driven by a horrific situation in New Orleans, the largest city – could be the next.
Rebekah Gee, head of Louisiana State University’s health care service, said Wednesday, “You can make masks, you can create many beds. But all you can’t do is make. You can make masks in one day. You can’t do a pulmonary critical care doc one day. “
Warner Thomas, chief executive at Ochsner Medical Center, Louisiana’s largest hospital system, said: “We are seeing an increase in cases in our system.”
Eliminating the threat to healthcare workers trying to cope with the pandemic, Thomas said 300 Ochsner employees were under quarantine, including 60 who were diagnosed with COVID-19.
Asked about guidelines drafted on how to provide ventilators to patients in the event of a disability, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said the bioethical discussion was “haunting him” but was inevitable in the current situation. .
“We have hope for the best, but the plan for the worst,” Murphy said at a news conference.
About half of the United States is under stay-at-home orders to try to prevent the spread of the virus, with its effects on economic recession and release in a wave of collapse.
In fresh data highlighting the pandemic’s economic damage, the Labor Department said the number of Americans who filed claims for unemployment benefits last week was recorded at nearly 3.28 million. That’s nearly five times the previous weekly record of 695,000 during the 1982 recession.
Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told WNYC public radio that changing weather will help fight the virus because generally warm and moist conditions are better than a cold, dry winter. Fauci said the virus could return for the next Northern Hemisphere winter.
“We expect to get some rest as we arrive in April, May and June. It will likely come next season as it is a very active virus,” Fauci said.
Outside of New York and New Orleans, other hot spots appear to be emerging nationwide, including Houston and Detroit.
Brandon Allen, 48, bought groceries in Detroit for his 72-year-old mother who tested positive for coronavirus and quarantined herself at home.
“It’s real,” Allen said. “People around me know I’m dying. I know some people who have died. I know some people who are fighting for their lives. Every day you hear other people have it.”
(Reporting by Maria Caspani in New York and Daniel Trotta in Milan; Additional reporting by Daniel Trotta, Gabriella Borter, Catherine Koppel, Lucia Mutikani, Doina Chiacu, Susan Heavey, Nathan Layne, Lisa Lambert, Michael Martina, Rebecca Cook , Barbara Goldberg, and Rich McKay; Writing by Will Dunham; Editing by Howard Goller)