The Five Boroughs Become America’s COVID-19 Epicenter as Cases Surge in New York CityDate: March 23, 2020
by Bob Towey
With over 20,800 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Monday, New York has more patients than the 26 next most affected states combined.
New York City alone has over 12,300 cases, more than any state besides New York itself. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report hundreds of new cases within the five boroughs each day, the region has become the nation’s biggest hotbed for the virus.
“We are now the epicenter of this crisis,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press conference on March 20.
In a news briefing on Sunday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called on the state’s healthcare system to expand its total number of hospital beds from 53,000 to 110,000. The governor stressed the importance of reinforcing intensive care unit (ICU) facilities, suggesting New York could need up to 37,000 ICU beds.
The state has just 3,000 ICU beds, according to Cuomo.
New York City will add 2,000 hospital beds by converting the 1.8 million square foot Javits Convention Center into a hospital, the governor said. The state gets another 1,000 beds when the U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort docks in New York Harbor next month.
The proposed increase in medical facilities means New York has greater demand for doctors and nurses to treat patients. Cuomo requested the assistance of retired healthcare professionals plus “qualified medical and nursing school students” in a tweet on Monday.
New York is currently seeking Food and Drug Administration approval to begin using plasma infusions as a coronavirus therapy. Cuomo announced in a briefing Monday that the treatment involves injecting current patients with the plasma of coronavirus survivors.
Cuomo explained that the antibodies in recovered patients’ plasma boost the immune systems of those battling COVID-19.
“We are fighting this virus in every way,” Cuomo tweeted Monday.