US rushes resources as New York emerges as new epicentre of Covid-19 outbreak
New York currently accounts for 5 per cent of the global coronavirus cases.Updated: Mar 23, 2020 12:39 IST
As the toll of coronavirus deaths neared 400 and New York city emerged as the new “epicentre” of the outbreak and a third US lawmaker tested positive for the virus, President Donald Trump ramped up assistance to the three states hit the hardest, New York, California and Washington.
Adding to the urgency of the crisis facing many American businesses large and small and individuals and families, US congress failed to agree on a massive $1.8 trillion federal relief and stimulus package Sunday. Negotiations continue however as both sides are keen to find common ground.
At least 390 people have died of the coronavirus so far and more than 31,000 people have tested positive including Rand Paul, a Republican senator and a close ally of President Trump, who is now the third American lawmaker infected. Two of his colleagues self-quarantined shortly after.
Calling Paul a “great friend”, President Trump said at the daily White House briefing the virus is “getting quite close to home, and it’s a terrible thing that’s going on”.
New York City, which had been the president’s home for many decades until recently and continues to host the headquarters of his business operations, now accounts for roughly 5% of the cases worldwide. Mayor Bill de Blasio is calling his city the “epicentre” of the outbreak, with a third of all US cases and two-thirds of all New York state cases.
New York is a ghost town compared to the bustling city most residents and visitors have known it for long. All non-essential workers are staying home on orders of the local authorities, shutting down nearly every part and aspect of the city.
New York state, California and Washington have been declared as disaster areas enabling greater federal assistance and President Trump said Sunday extra supplies of masks, gowns and respirators are being rushed to them to help them deal with a a crisis that they fear will overwhelm them.
Mayor de Blasio first put his city at the center of the global health crisis last Friday as he urged federal government for help citing depleting local resources. “I hate to say this, but it’s true: We are now the epicenter of this crisis,” he had said then, with only 5,000 confirmed cases then. There are 16,887 cases now.
“Nobody walks outside these days, shops are all closed and only the delivery guy is outside,” said a visitor from India who asked not to identified.