NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has said that the coronavirus outbreak in the city will get worse, with damage accelerated by shortages of key medical supplies.
He said on March 22: “We’re about 10 days away from seeing widespread shortages.
“If we don’t get more ventilators people will die.”
New York state has become the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the US and accounts for almost half of the US cases.
There are now 31,057 confirmed cases in the US, with 390 deaths.
On March New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said 15,168 people had tested positive for the virus, an increase of more than 4,000 from the previous day.
“All Americans deserve the blunt truth,” Mayor de Blasio told NBC News.
“It’s only getting worse, and in fact April and May are going to be a lot worse.”
New York now accounts for roughly 5% of Covid-19 cases worldwide.
On March 20, President Donald Trump approved a major disaster declaration for the state which gave it access to billions of dollars of federal aid.
However, Bill de Blasio has continued to criticize the Trump administration for what he views as an inadequate response.
He said: “I cannot be blunt enough: if the president doesn’t act, people will die who could have lived otherwise.”
“This is going to be the greatest crisis, domestically, since the Great Depression,” Bill de Blasio added, referring to the economic crisis of the 1930s.
Speaking at a news conference at the White House on March 22, President Trump said he had also approved a major disaster declaration for Washington state and would approve a similar measure for California.
He said: “This is a challenging time for all Americans. We’re enduring a great national trial.”
The president also said a number of medical supplies were being sent to locations nationwide, as well as emergency medical stations for New York, Washington and California, the worst-hit states.
Doctors across New York have reported depleted medical supplies and a lack of protective gear for healthcare workers on the frontlines of the outbreak.
Warnings of such shortages have reverberated across the US as other state governors have pleaded with the federal government to make more supplies available.
In California, officials instructed hospitals to restrict coronavirus testing. Meanwhile, a hospital in Washington state – once the center of the US outbreak – said it could run out of ventilators by April.
On March 22, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said states were “competing against each other” for virus supplies.
He said: “We need millions of masks and hundreds of thousands of gowns and gloves.
“We’re getting just a fraction of that. So, we’re out on the open market competing for these items that we so badly need.”
An almost $1.4 trillion emergency stimulus bill intended to blunt the punishing economic impact of the pandemic failed to pass the US Senate on March 22.
The bill got 47 votes, falling short of the 60 needed in the 100-member chamber.
Democrats raised objections to the bill with Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer saying it had “many, many problems”. Democrats accused Republicans of wanting to bail out big businesses.