Coronavirus: New York to shut down streets as number of cases tops 30,000

25 March 2020, 18:41

A woman stands in a virtually empty Time Square in New York
A woman stands in a virtually empty Times Square in New York. Picture: PA

By Matt Drake

New York City will close some streets in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus as the reported number of cases reached more than 30,000.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the measures as the state's reported cases of infections had risen to 30,811 - which is by far the US' highest.

Mr Cuomo had previously likened the coronavirus to a "bullet train" and that it had spread faster than authorities had predicted and would hit the state with greater force than expected.

On Wednesday he called on the federal government to send thousands of additional ventilators to help New York cope.

He said: "We're asking for the country to help us - we will return the favour."

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Mr Coumo also agreed with Donald Trump that the economy couldn't stay closed indefinitely but argue there was a more nuanced approach that does not pit public health against the economy.

Meanwhile, a makeshift morgue was assembled yesterday outside the Bellvue Hospital in Manhatten on Tuesday in anticipation of a potential surge, the New York Post reported.

Two refrigerated trailers were trucked to the site and a source familiar with the operation told the paper that additional refrigerated trailers would be brought to the site and similar setups would be built outside other hospitals.

The source said: "The plan is for them to be there and throughout the city."

As of Tuesday morning, the death toll from Covid-19 in New York State was 218.

But Governor Cuomo said there were signs that density control measures were working,

He highlighted data that showed slowing hospitalisation rates.

On Sunday, the state's projections showed hospitalisations doubling every two days while Tuesday's estimates showed them doubling every 4.7 days.

Mr Cuomo said: "That is almost too good to be true, but the theory is, given the density that we’re dealing with, it spreads very quickly, but if you reduce the density, you can reduce the spread very quickly.”