NEW YORK – Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday made an urgent appeal for medical volunteers amid a “staggering” number of COVID-19 novel coronavirus deaths.
“As Governor of New York, I am asking health care professionals across the country, if you don’t have a health care crisis in your community, please come help us in New York now,” Cuomo said during a Coronavirus Press briefing at Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City. “We need relief for nurses who are working 12-hour shifts one after the other after the other. We need relief for doctors. We need relief for attendants. If you’re not busy, come help us please. We will return the favor. We will return the favor.”
The governor and both state and national health officials also warned that the crisis unfolding in New York City is just a preview of what other U.S. communities could soon face.
Cuomo said as the state’s death toll climbed by more than 250 people in a day, adding that an additional one million health care workers are needed to tackle the crisis.
“The soldiers in this fight are the health care professionals. It’s the doctors, it’s the nurses, it’s the people working in the hospitals, it’s the aides. They are the soldiers who are fighting this battle for us,” Cuomo said. “You know the expression, save our troops. Troops, quote, unquote – in this battle the troops are health care professionals. Those are the troops who are fighting this battle for us.”
Even before the governor’s appeal, close to 80,000 former nurses, doctors and other professionals were stepping up to volunteer, and a Navy hospital ship had arrived with 1,000 beds to relieve pressure on overwhelmed hospitals.
The spike in deaths in New York is another sign of the long fight ahead against the global pandemic.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious-disease expert, also warned that smaller cities are likely about to see cases “take off” the way they have in New York City.
There are now more than 67,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in New York State and 1,342 deaths. Meanwhile, confirmed cases across the United States now stands at nearly 165,000 with 3,170 deaths. Because of limited testing, the number of actual people who have been exposed to the virus could be much higher.
Worldwide, there are now 788,000 confirmed cases along with nearly 38,000 deaths. Of the confirmed cases worldwide, over 166,000 thousand are now reported as fully recovered.