Loading
Breaking
Now Reading: NEW COVID EPICENTER | US surpasses Italy and China in number of infections
NEW COVID EPICENTER | US surpasses Italy and China in number of infections
March 27, 2020 , 07:13 AM

By Maria Caspani and Daniel Trotta

NEW YORK, March 26 (Reuters) – The United States on Thursday surpassed China and Italy as the country with the most coronavirus cases, according to a Reuters tally, as New York, New Orleans and other hot spots faced a surge in hospitalizations and looming shortages in supplies, staff and sick beds.

Medical facilities were running low on ventilators and protective masks and were hampered by limited diagnostic testing capacity.

The number of U.S. cases of coronavirus reached 81,378, the Reuters tally showed. China was second with 81,285 cases, and Italy third with 80,539 cases.

At least 1,178 people in the United States have died from COVID-19, which has proven especially dangerous to the elderly and people with underlying chronic health conditions, according to a running tally based on reports from state and local public health authorities.

An expected shortfall of ventilators – machines that support respiration for people who have lost the ability to breathe on their own – was substantial, as a surge of cases overwhelms New York hospitals, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told a news conference.

“Any scenario that is realistic will overwhelm the capacity of the healthcare system,” he said. “The number of ventilators we need is so astronomical – it’s not like they have them sitting in the warehouse,” Cuomo added. “There is no stockpile available.”
At least one New York hospital has begun a trial of sharing single ventilators between two patients.

Dr. Craig Smith, surgeon in chief at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center in Manhattan, wrote to staff that teams had worked “day and night” to get the split-ventilation experiment going.

While New York was the coronavirus epicenter in the United States this week, Louisiana could be the next. In New Orleans, the state’s biggest city, Mardi Gras celebrations last month were believed to have fueled the outbreak.

VENTILATOR DEMAND SOARS

Demand for ventilators has doubled in Louisiana, with some 80% of intensive care unit patients now on the breathing machines, said Warner Thomas, chief executive of Ochsner Health System, the state’s healthcare group.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards warned that his state, reporting about 1,800 infections, including at least 83 deaths is rapidly running out of beds and ventilators.

“If we don’t flatten the infection curve soon, we will be out of ventilators in New Orleans by April 2, and we would potentially be out of bed space for individuals by April 7,” he said at a press conference.

“It’s not conjecture, it’s not some flimsy theory, it’s not some scare tactic. This is what is going to happen.”

In New York state, the goal is to make as many as 140,000 hospital beds available, up from the current capacity of 53,000, and authorities are scouting new sites, Cuomo said.

Asked about media reports of some New York City healthcare workers resorting to using plastic trash bags to try to protect themselves, Cuomo acknowledged issues with the distribution of protective equipment and said there was enough in stock for the “immediate need” but not for the longer term.

New York hospitals were scrambling to comply with Cuomo’s directive that they increase capacity by at least 50%. At Mount Sinai Hospital’s Upper East Side location, rooms were being constructed within an atrium to open up more space for beds.

At Elmhurst Hospital in New York’s borough of Queens, about a hundred people, many wearing masks with their hoods pulled up, stood in line behind barriers outside the emergency room entrance, waiting to enter a tent to be screened for the coronavirus.

The city coroner’s office has posted refrigerated trucks outside Elmhurst and Bellevue Hospital to temporarily store bodies of the deceased.

Deborah White, vice chair of emergency medicine at Jack D. Weiler Hospital in the city’s Bronx borough, said 80% of its emergency room visits were patients with coronavirus-like symptoms.

‘HAUNTED’ BY PROSPECT OF RATIONING

The projected ventilator shortfall and surge in hospitalizations has already raised the prospect of rationing healthcare.

Asked about guidelines being drafted on how to allocate ventilators to patients in case of a shortage, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said such bioethical discussions “haunted him” but were unavoidable in the current situation.

“We have to hope for the best, but plan for the worst,” Murphy told a news conference.

Desperate to slow the spread of the virus by limiting physical contact among people, state and local governments have issued stay-at-home orders covering about half the U.S. population. A major side effect has been the strangulation of the economy, unleashing a wave of layoffs.

The U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday the number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits last week soared to a record of nearly 3.28 million – almost five times the previous weekly record of 695,000 during the 1982 recession.

Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told WNYC public radio that the changing weather could 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 Northern Hemisphere’s next winter.

“We hope we get a respite as we get into April, May and June. It is likely to come around next season because it’s a very vigorous virus,” Fauci said.

Outside New York and New Orleans, other hot spots appeared to be emerging around the country, including Houston and Detroit.

Brandon Allen, 48, bought groceries in Detroit for his 72-year-old mother who has tested positive for the coronavirus and was self-quarantining at home.

“It’s surreal,” Allen said. “People around me I know are dying. I know of a couple people who have died. I know a couple of people who are fighting for their lives. Everyday you hear of another person who has 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 and Steve Gorman; Editing by Howard Goller, Bill Tarrant and Cynthia Osterman)

More From News5
Ex-FHM model sa drug buy-bust
Nasabat sa dating modelo ang ilang pakete ng shabu, ecstacy at pipe para sa liquid shabu na ibinibenta raw sa online store.
Published On: March 2, 2020
2020 Tokyo Olympics, tuloy sa kabila ng banta ng COVID-19
Tiniyak ng local organizers na handa silang protektahan kontra COVID-19 ang libu-libong atleta na lalahok sa Olympics. For more videos, visit us at www.news5.com.ph.
Published On: March 2, 2020
Sen. Drilon, naghain ng concurrent resolution sa ABS-CBN franchise extension
Mas mabilis ang proseso sa concurrent resolution dahil pag-apruba lamang ng Kamara at Senado ang kailangan para mapalawig hanggang June 30, 2020 ang prangkisa ng ABS-CBN. | via Greg Gregorio. For more videos, visit us at www.news5.com.ph.
Published On: March 2, 2020
Apology ng ABS-CBN, tinanggap na ni Duterte
Tinanggap na ni Pres. Duterte ang paumanhin ng ABS-CBN sa hindi nito pag-ere ng kanyang political advertisements noong 2016 elections. Natanong din siya tungkol sa quo warranto petition ng Office of the Solicitor General na pinapawalang bisa ang prangkisa ng broadcast network. | via Maricel Halili For more videos, visit us at www.news5.com.ph.
Published On: March 2, 2020
Jovie Espenido, 'cleared' na sa droga sa region 6
Nilinaw ng PNP na hindi pa final ang desisyon dahil sa isasailalim pa sa national level validation ang pagkakadawit ni P/Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido sa drug watchlist. For more videos, visit us at www.news5.com.ph.
Published On: March 2, 2020
Pag-iingat ng simbahan vs. COVID-19 ngayong Semana Santa
Maraming simbahan ngayong Ash Wednesday ang ibinudbod sa bunbunan imbes na ipinahid sa noo ang abo bilang pag-iingat laban sa coronavirus disease. | via Jen Calimon. For more videos, visit us at www.news5.com.ph.
Published On: March 2, 2020
Kinompronta ni Calida ang isang ABS CBN reporter
"Ikaw, lagi mo akong binabanatan ha." Kinompronta ni Solicitor General Jose Calida ang isang reporter ng ABS-CBN nang manghingi ito ng kopya ng petition for quo warranto para sa pagpapawalang-bisa ng prangkisa ng network.
Published On: February 17, 2020
Nilinaw ni Sec. Panelo ang naging confusion sa pagkansela sa VFA
Ipinaliwanag ni Sec. Salvador Panelo na nagkalituhan daw sa tenses na ginamit kaya magkaiba ang naging pahayag nila ni Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana tungkol sa pagpapasa ng termination notice ng Visiting Forces Agreement sa Amerika. Sinabi rin ni Panelo na mas mahalagang malaman na hindi magbabago ang isip ng Pangulo sa isyu.
Published On: February 17, 2020
Babaeng astronaut na bumalik sa mundo, gumawa ng record
328 na araw nananatili sa space ang American astronaut na si Christina Koch. For more videos, visit us at www.news5.com.ph.
Published On: February 17, 2020
Inflation forecast para sa 2020, itinaas ng BSP
Posibleng pumalo sa 3% ang inflation o kabuuang pagtaas ng presyo ng mga bilihin at serbisyo ngayong taon, batay sa pagtataya ng Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. For more videos, visit us at www.news5.com.ph.
Published On: February 17, 2020
Top Stories
AMID COVID19 SHUTDOWN | Van Gogh painting stolen from Dutch museum
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Thieves stole a painting by Vincent van Gogh overnight from the Singer Laren Museum in the Netherlands, its director sa
Published On: March 30, 2020
TESTING FACILITIES | More hospitals will soon test for the deadly coronavirus
(March 30, 2020) – The health department on Monday reported about 50 hospitals in the country have asked to be accredited as testing centers
Published On: March 30, 2020
FOREIGN HELP | China sending doctors to help the Philippines battle coronavirus
(March 30, 2020) – The Philippines has sought the help of China, where the pandemic started, in dealing with the highly contagious virus caus
Published On: March 30, 2020
SECOND IN ASEAN | Philippines has second highest coronavirus in the region
By Manny Mogato (March 30, 2020) – The Philippines has overtaken Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand with the highest number of coronavirus cas
Published On: March 30, 2020
SOCIAL DISTANCING | Measure to prevent spread of disease may cause class division in the Philippines (Analysis)
By Chenny Ramos (March 30, 2020) – When the coronavirus pandemic reached the Philippines this month, President Rodrigo Duterte placed the ent
Published On: March 30, 2020