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Cuomo begs for help as death toll rises

  • The Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort passes lower Manhattan on its way to docking in New York, Monday. The ship has 1,000 beds and 12 operating rooms that could be up and running within 24 hours of its arrival on Monday morning. It's expected to bolster a besieged health care system by treating non-coronavirus patients while hospitals treat people with COVID-19. AP PHOTO

  • Medical personnel check people inside their cars to find out if they have symptoms of COVID-19 in Guarulhos on the outskirts of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Monday, March 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Andre Penner) Andre Penner

  • A worker moves items at a Federal Medical Station for hospital surge capacity set up at Temple University's Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Monday, March 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) Matt Rourke

  • Muni light rail cars rest dormant at a Geneva Ave. storage and maintenance facility on Monday, March 30, 2020, in San Francisco. On Monday, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) indefinitely suspended all light rail service due to plummeting readership caused by coronavirus shelter-in-place orders. (AP Photo/Noah Berger) Noah Berger

  • Undertaker Mari Carmen Serrador, 53, protects herself with a mask at Salvador cemetery during the coronavirus outbreak, near Vitoria, northern Spain, Monday. AP PHOTO

  • Iraqi health ministry workers carry a coffin of a person who died from coronavirus at a new cemetery for the people who died from Covid-19 outside the town of Najaf, Iraq, Monday, March 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Anmar Khalil) Anmar Khalil

  • Volunteer workers in a clothing factory manufacturing firefighting gear, make hospital gowns for medical staff to protect them from the coronavirus, in Arnedo, northern Spain, Monday, March 30, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos) Alvaro Barrientos

  • A journalist records speakers at a press briefing following the arrival of the USNS Comfort, a naval hospital ship with a 1,000 bed-capacity, Monday, March 30, 2020, at Pier 90 in New York. The ship will be used to treat patients who do not have the new coronavirus as land-based hospitals fill up to capacity with those that do. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) Kathy Willens

  • Officials wearing protective face masks and suits as a preventive measure against the spread of the coronavirus wait to load coffins of victims of Covid-19, to hearse trucks outside a morque in Istanbul, Monday, March 30, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel) Emrah Gurel

  • A municipal worker sprays disinfectant in the Grand Market of Dakar, Senegal in an attempt to halt the spread of the new coronavirus Monday, March 30, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Sylvain Cherkaoui) SYLVAIN CHERKAOUI

  • A woman wearing a face mask to protect against coronavirus, passes in front of graffiti painted on the shutter of a closed restaurant during a lockdown order by the Greek government to control the spread of the virus, in Athens, Monday, March 30, 2020. Greece's prime minister is calling on all his cabinet ministers and the lawmakers of his center-right New Democracy party to donate 50% of their salaries over the next two months to the fight against the spread of the new coronavirus. (AP... Thanassis Stavrakis

  • Palestinians make protective overalls meant to shield people from the coronavirus, to be exported to Israel, at a local factory, in Gaza City, Monday, March 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Adel Hana) Adel Hana

  • Health workers prepare to conduct a drive-through COVID-19 test for people at KPJ Damansara Specialist Hospital, in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, Monday, March 30, 2020. The Malaysian government issued a restricted movement order to the public till April 14, to help curb the spread of the new coronavirus. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or... Vincent Thian

  • The Olympic rings are reflected on the facade of Japan Olympic Museum Monday, March 30, 2020, in Tokyo. The Tokyo Olympics will open next year in the same time slot scheduled for this year's games. Tokyo organizers said Monday the opening ceremony will take place on July 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Jae C. Hong

  • A passenger flying Southwest Airlines wheels his bags to a drop-off kiosk at Midway International Airport Monday, March 30, 2020, in Chicago. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) Charles Rex Arbogast

Published: 3/30/2020 6:39:10 PM

NEW YORK — New York’s governor issued an urgent appeal for medical volunteers Monday amid a “staggering” number of deaths from the coronavirus, saying: “Please come help us in New York, now.” And tens of thousands of retired or sidelined nurses and doctors were already answering the call.

The plea from Gov. Andrew Cuomo came as the death toll in New York State climbed past 1,200 — with most of the victims in the big city — and authorities warned that the crisis pushing New York’s hospitals to the breaking point is just a preview of what other cities across the U.S. could soon face.

Cuomo said the city needs 1 one million additional health care workers.

“We’ve lost over 1,000 New Yorkers,” he said. “To me, we’re beyond staggering already. We’ve reached staggering.”

At the same time the governor’s appeal went out, a Navy hospital ship, also sent to the city after 9/11, pulled into port with 1,000 beds to help relieve pressure on New York’s hospitals. And an estimated 80,000 former medical professionals were stepping up to volunteer.

“Whatever it is that they need, I’m willing to do,” said Jerry Kops, a musician and former nurse whose tour with the show Blue Man Group was abruptly halted by the outbreak. He returned to his Long Island home, where he volunteered to be a nurse again.

In Europe, meanwhile, hard-hit Italy and Spain saw their death tolls climb by more than 800 each, but the World Health Organization’s emergency chief said cases there were “potentially stabilizing.” At the same time, he warned that this is no time to let up on tough containment measures.

“We have to now push the virus down, and that will not happen by itself,” said Dr. Michael Ryan.

Three-quarters of a million people around the world have become infected and over 35,000 have died, according to a running count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

The U.S. reported over 140,000 infections and more than 2,500 deaths, with New York City the nation’s worst hot spot, but New Orleans, Detroit and other cities are also seeing alarming clusters.

“Anyone who says this situation is a New York City-only situation is in a state of denial,” Cuomo said. “You see this virus move across the state, you see this virus move across the nation. There is no American who is immune to this virus.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious-disease expert, similarly warned that smaller cities are likely about to see cases “take off” the way they have in New York City.

“What we’ve learned from painful experience with this outbreak is that it goes along almost on a straight line, then a little acceleration, acceleration, then it goes way up,” he said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

In other developments around the world:

■Bells tolled in Madrid’s deserted central square and flags were lowered in a day of mourning as Spain raced to build field hospitals to treat an onslaught of coronavirus patients. The country’s death toll topped 7,300.

■In Japan, officials announced a new date for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics — the summer of 2021 — as a spike in reported infections fueled suspicions that the government was understating the extent of the country’s outbreak in recent weeks while it was still hoping to salvage the Summer Games.

■Moscow locked down its 12 million people as Russia braced for sweeping nationwide restrictions.

■Israel said 70-year-old Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’ is quarantining himself after an aide tested positive for the virus. And in Britain, Prince Charles, the heir to the throne who tested positive for the virus, ended his period of isolation and is in good health, his office said.

Italy’s death toll climbed to nearly 11,600. But in a bit of positive news, newly released numbers showed a continued slowdown in the rate of new confirmed cases and a record number of people cured.

“We are saving lives by staying at home, by maintaining social distance, by traveling less and by closing schools,” said Dr. Luca Richeldi, a lung specialist.

At least six of Spain’s 17 regions were at their limit of intensive care unit beds, and three more were close to it, authorities said. Crews of workers were frantically building more field hospitals.

Nearly 15% of all those infected in Spain, almost 13,000 people, are health care workers, hurting hospitals’ efforts to help the tsunami of people gasping for breath.

In a sign of the mounting economic toll exacted by the virus in the United States, Macy’s said it would stop paying tens of thousands of employees thrown out of work when the chain closed its more than 500 department stores earlier this month.

The majority of its 130,000 workers will still collect health benefits, but the company said it is switching to the “absolute minimum workforce” needed to maintain basic operations.

The crisis in China, where the outbreak began in late December, continued to ease. China on Monday reported 31 new COVID-19 cases, among them just one domestic infection, and the city at the center of the disaster, Wuhan, began reopening for business as authorities lifted more of the controls that locked down tens of millions of people for two months.

“I want to revenge shop,” one excited customer declared.

Japanese automaker Toyota halted production at its auto plants in Europe, but all of its factories in China resumed work on Monday.




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