New York City hospitals are expecting an explosion of coronavirus patients this week. This distressing news comes even as the city’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, on Friday lauded the statewide clampdown Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued Friday.
The statewide measure is designed to slow the spread of Covid-19. But thus far, confirmed infections are growing by the hour, effectively making New York State “ground zero” for coronavirus infections in the US.
As far as NYC goes, close to 1,000 people have been hospitalized in the city, with hundreds in intensive care units. The number of confirmed cases continued to rise to 5,683 with 43 fatalities as of 6 p.m. Even that number is largely meaningless because more tests are being conducted each day and scores of infected residents are never swabbed in the first place.
While a surge in patients is expected, De Blasio said Friday he believes that the city is prepared to deal with the crunch through March. Health officials have indicated there are potentially 20,000 beds being prepped, and the Army Corps of Engineers has pledged to build 10,000 additional beds in the coming weeks. But come April, both space and protective equipment for health care staff could dry up.
After the mayor had for days called on the state to institute a shelter-in-place order, Cuomo took the plunge and, while dismissing the term “shelter in place” as alarmist, took many of the measures de Blasio had sought. All nonessential businesses were ordered to close, nonessential gatherings were prohibited and New Yorkers were told to stay in their homes except for necessary sojourns or solitary exercise.
“This action by the state is very new,” de Blasio said Friday evening. “And again I agree with it fully.”
Because the Covid-19 illness typically takes between seven to nine days to require hospitalization — which will be the reality for roughly 10 percent of those infected — Friday’s order will have little effect on the number of New Yorkers who show up at hospitals throughout this week. And those numbers could be staggering.
A recent analysis from economist and data scientist Michael Donnelly suggests that hospitals will face 3,000 cases by Tuesday, 8,000 by Friday and will surpass 15,000 by early the week of March 30.
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