The state of New York has recorded nearly 500 coronavirus-related deaths in a single day, bringing the statewide total to nearly 3000, or about the same number killed in the September 11, 2001 attacks.
New York City has mere days to prepare for the worst of the novel coronavirus onslaught, the city’s mayor Bill de Blasio says.
De Blasio pleaded for federal government help to end a shortage of medical staff and ventilators.
The city has suffered more than a quarter of US deaths in the outbreak.
“I think somehow in Washington, there’s an assumption (that) there’s weeks to prepare,” de Blasio said on MSNBC on Friday.
“There’s not weeks anymore. It is days now.”
New York state recorded 2935 fatalities over 24 hours, up from 2373 a day earlier, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Friday.
It was the highest single increase in the number of deaths since counting began.
The September 11 attacks killed nearly 3000 people, the majority of them at New York City’s World Trade Centre.
De Blasio is asking for 1000 nurses, 150 doctors and 300 respiratory therapists as the number of COVID-19 cases in the city is expected to rise sharply next week.
New York City has yet to receive a resupply for the up to 3000 ventilators needed by next week, de Blasio said, urging US President Donald Trump to mobilise medical personnel from the US military.
“They are not mobilised for action,” de Blasio, a Democrat, told WNYC radio.
“The president has to give that order right now.” Trump is a Republican.
More than 25 per cent of the 6058 US coronavirus deaths tallied by Johns Hopkins University as of Friday morning were in New York City.
Infections in the US totalling 240,000 account for about 24 per cent of the more than one million cases worldwide.
“We all know New York is bad but we know the worst is yet to come,” said Naila Shereen, an internal medicine specialist who rotates through various hospitals in New York.
New statistics on Friday confirmed that hundreds of thousands of Americans had lost their jobs because of the pandemic.
However economists say the real figure is far more than that because huge swathes of the US economy began shutting down last month to avoid spreading the virus.
US employers cut 701,000 jobs last month, ending a record 113 straight months of employment growth, the Labor Department said.
In the last two weeks, nearly 10 million workers have filed for jobless benefits.
“What we are watching in real time is the greatest bloodletting in the American labour market since the Great Depression,” said Joe Brusuelas, chief economist at RSM in Austin, Texas.
Anthony Fauci, a doctor and leading member of Trump’s coronavirus task force, said social distancing is beginning to work even though the US is still far from over the worst.