The New York state’s COVID-19 death toll rose at a devastating pace to 3,565 deaths on Saturday, up from 2,935 the previous day, the largest 24-hour jump recorded there.
The state has so far recorded 113,704 positive cases – with 63,306 in New York City alone, where 2,624 have died – just 6,000 short of hard-hit Italy’s total number of cases.
In his daily briefing on Saturday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said infections could peak in the state in anywhere from four to 14 days.
“Part of me would like to be at the apex and just let’s do it. But there’s part of me that says it’s good that we’re not at the apex because we’re not yet ready,” Cuomo said.
He added that the federal government will now staff and equip the overflowing hospital at Manhattan’s Javits Center for treatment of those infected with the coronavirus. The facility can take in 2,500 patients.
The state is continuing its hunt for urgently needed ventilators, Cuomo said, before thanking the Chinese government for donating 1,000 of the life-saving devices expected to arrive on Saturday.
He also said the state of Oregon would deliver 140 ventilators.
The Chinese government and billionaires Jack Ma and Joseph Tsai, the co-founders of the online marketplace Alibaba, facilitated a gift of 1,000 ventilators.
“It’s going to make a significant difference for us,” added Cuomo who had said on Thursday that the state’s stockpile of ventilators would be exhausted in six days if the number of critically ill coronavirus patients kept growing at the current rate.
The governor said 85,000 volunteers – including 22,000 from out of the state – had signed up to help in the country’s coronavirus epicentre. Hours earlier, the city sent a wireless emergency alert to its 8.6 million residents urging licensed healthcare workers to volunteer.
“Anyone who’s not already in this fight, we need you,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio, imploring help from “any healthcare professional: doctor, nurse, respiratory therapist, you name it.”
The mayor has estimated that the city needs 45,000 more medical personnel to fight the pandemic through April and May.