The mayor of New York City, which has more than a third of the nation’s coronavirus cases, on Sunday described the outbreak as the biggest domestic crisis since the Great Depression and called for the U.S. military to mobilize to help keep the healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed.
“If we don’t get more ventilators in the next 10 days people will die who don’t have to die,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio, as the nation’s most populous city saw cases top 8,000 and deaths hit 60. Nationwide cases are over 25,000 with at least 340 dead, according to a Reuters tally.
“This is going to be the greatest crisis domestically since the Great Depression,” he told CNN, referring to the economic crisis of the 1930s. “This is why we need a full-scale mobilization of the American military.”
He warned that the worst is yet to come and the city is not getting needed medical supplies from the federal government to contend with the rapid spread of the sometimes deadly respiratory illness COVID-19.
“April is going to be a lot worse than March and I fear May could be worse than April,” de Blasio said.
The lockdown affecting large segments of the American public to try to curb the spread of the coronavirus is likely to last 10 to 12 weeks, or until early June, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday.
Americans are adapting to the biggest change in daily life since World War Two with schools closed, sports canceled and economic upheaval as job losses mount with the shuttering of businesses across many industries.
Hospitals are scrambling for protective equipment for healthcare workers and for ventilators as they brace for a wave of patients who will need help breathing.
The virus has killed over 13,000 globally and infected more than 300,000 in over 170 countries.
Lawmakers in Washington are nearing a deal that could pump a record $1 trillion into the economy to limit the economic damage from the coronavirus.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told “Fox News Sunday” that he hopes Congress will vote on the bill on Monday. Proposed payments to an average family of four would be $3,000 and would only be one-time for now, he said.
Nearly one in four Americans, or 80 million, were under orders to close up shop and stay home as New York, California, Illinois, Connecticut and New Jersey instituted statewide lockdowns. “Unless we tell people to stay home and to stop interacting in the way they were, we are going to see more and more, thousands more, tens of thousands of more deaths than we otherwise would,” Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker told CNN on Sunday.