The governors of California and New York are moving to rapidly expand their health care work forces, as the death toll from COVID-19 in New York surged past 1,200 while hospitalizations in California doubled in the last four days.
The escalating statistics tied to the spread of coronavirus underscored the health risk for millions of Americans, regardless of whether they call home the Midwest farm belt, the rural South or a sprawling coastal metropolis. The top infectious-disease expert in the United States is warning that smaller U.S. cities are about to witness the rapid acceleration in coronavirus cases that New York has documented.
In New York, most of the deaths have been in New York City, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the statewide death toll had shot up by 253 in a single day, and April is expected to be worse.
In other developments today:
- Cuomo issued an urgent appeal for medical volunteers Monday amid a surging number of deaths, as health officials warned that the crisis unfolding in New York City is just a preview of what other communities across the U.S. could soon face.
- California is enlisting retired doctors and medical and nursing students to help treat an anticipated surge of coronavirus patients, the governor announced. The California Health Corps effort comes as the nation’s most populous state anticipates hospitals becoming overwhelmed with patients and while it is preparing stadiums and convention centers to handle a crush of cases.
- Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Monday issued a statewide stay-at-home order along with a lecture for those who packed the state's beaches last weekend or otherwise ignored calls to avoid mass gatherings. Northam's move is in line with steps taken by governors in neighboring Maryland and North Carolina and by Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.
- New York Rep. Nydia Velázquez, a Democrat who attended Friday’s House session to pass a $2 trillion rescue package, says Monday in a statement that she has a presumed coronavirus infection. Velázquez, 67, says in the statement that she began to feel ill Sunday morning and spoke to the Capitol’s attending physician by phone. She says she was diagnosed with a presumed infection but has mild symptoms and is isolating at home, as the doctor recommended.
- A Navy hospital ship has arrived in New York City to help relieve the coronavirus crisis gripping New York City's hospitals. The USNS Comfort has 1,000 beds and 12 operating rooms that could be up and running within 24 hours. It's expected to bolster a besieged health care system by treating non-coronavirus patients while hospitals treat people with COVID-19. New York City, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, reported Sunday that its toll had risen to 776.
- The State Department says it has successfully arranged the repatriation of some 25,000 American citizens stranded abroad in more than 50 countries due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- The World Health Organization’s emergencies chief says coronavirus case counts in hard-hit countries like Italy and Spain are “potentially stabilizing,” but it’s no time to let up on tough measures to limit and track the spread of the virus.
- Florida officials have arrested the pastor of a megachurch after detectives say he held two Sunday services with hundreds of people and violated a safer-at-home order in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
- Ford is repurposing an auto parts factory west of Detroit to start building simple ventilators to treat coronavirus patients. The automaker says that starting the week of April 20, it expects to produce 50,000 ventilators in 100 days. The plant in Ypsilanti Township, Michigan, would have the ability to build 30,000 per month after that.
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