The number of coronavirus cases in New York sharply increased to nearly 8,000 cases on Friday, a result of increased testing and the continuing uncontrolled spread of the virus that causes the respiratory illness COVID-19.
This is 10 times higher than what was reported earlier in the week.
New York now has half of all coronavirus cases in the US.
“The healthcare system is already getting overrun. Hospitals are running out of ventilators. Doctors are reusing masks,” says the New York Times' Brian Rosenthal.
The sharp increase is thrusting the medical system toward a crisis point, officials said.
In the Bronx, doctors at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center say they have only a few remaining ventilators for patients who need them to breathe. In Brooklyn, doctors at Kings County Hospital Center say they are so low on supplies that they are reusing masks for up to a week, slathering them with hand sanitizer between shifts.
Some of the jump in New York’s cases can be traced to significantly increased testing, which the state began this week. But the escalation, and the response, could offer other states a glimpse of what might be in store if the virus continues to spread. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Friday urged residents to stay indoors and ordered nonessential businesses to keep workers home.
As it prepares for the worst-case projections, the state is asking retired health care workers to volunteer to help. The city is considering trying to turn the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan into a makeshift hospital.
“The most striking part is the speed with which it has ramped up,” said Ben McVane, an emergency room doctor at Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens. “It went from a small trickle of patients to a deluge of patients in our departments.”
More at the New York Times:
Coronavirus in N.Y.: ‘Deluge’ of Cases Begins Hitting Hospitals
[March 20, 2020, 5:37 p.m. ET — Brian M. Rosenthal, Joseph Goldstein and Michael Rothfeld]
And more on New York City's latest, from a briefing tonight.
“We are now the epicenter of this crisis,” said New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio.