The U.S. hit another grim milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic Monday, recording its 3,000 death as the nation’s most populated cities put out cries for aid and extra hospital beds.
The latest numbers — 3,170 deaths and more than 164,000 confirmed infections in the U.S. as of early Tuesday — come as cities across the nation struggle find adequate health care for patients.
In New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles, mayors and governors are working on alternative hospital arrangements. In Illinois, there are plans to convert Chicago’s McCormick Place Convention Center — the largest conference center in North America — into a care facility that will be able to accommodate up to 3,000 coronavirus patients.
In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has pleaded with nurses and doctors across the country to travel to his state to help with the outbreak, so long as the situation in their state isn’t dire.
“In this battle, the troops are our healthcare professionals,” Cuomo said. “We need relief. We need relief for nurses working 12-hour shifts. We need relief for doctors. Help us now and we will return the favor.”
New York has more confirmed cases than any other state, with more than 67,000 cases; 1,342 have died, accounting for nearly one-third of all U.S. deaths. On Monday, the USNS Comfort, a Navy hospital ship featuring 1,000 beds and 12 operating rooms, arrived in New York harbor. It could be ready to take in patients as soon as Tuesday.
“The number of beds we had in the beginning of March has to triple by May,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday. “It’s a daunting task, but we got a big, big boost.”
In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom has previously said the state will need an additional 50,000 hospital beds for the outbreak, the peak of which is expected in a few weeks on the West Coast.
Across the country, local leaders have issued or extended stay home, stay healthy orders as the virus’s numbers have increased: On Monday, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued a stay at home order, effectively immediately and in place until June 10.
Globally, there are more than 784,000 cases, and nearly 38,000 deaths.