NYC is new epicenter with a third of all US cases, Mayor de Blasio says

New York City accounts for roughly a third of all the coronavirus cases in the nation with 5,151 confirmed infections as of Friday morning, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. 

“We are now the epicenter of this crisis,” he said at a press conference, adding that 29 residents have died. Some 52 New York City police officers are among those infected, city officials said.

The mayor said he’s been warning people that the city will run out of protective gear for medical workers in two or three weeks if cases keep rising at this rate. 

“If you feel afraid, you are not alone, if you’re anxious you are not alone,” de Blasio said. “New Yorkers are so strong. There are other places in this country this might be a particularly shock to the system, but here … we are tough people by nature.”

De Blasio urged residents to go outside only if they need to and to remain 6 feet away from other people if they do go out. He said the city won’t approve permits for events or sports in parks, although people are still allowed to use them.

Medical workers and other officials gather outside of the Brooklyn Hospital Center where testing for the coronavirus has started on March 19, 2020 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said the state expects COVID-19 cases to peak in about 45 days. State and local officials have been scrambling to get needed supplies and find extra hospital beds. Cuomo says the state it expects 110,000 people to be hospitalized with the virus at its peak; the state only has 53,000 beds.

Earlier Friday, Cuomo ordered nonessential businesses to keep 100% of their workforce at home, and put in place stringent new restrictions on New Yorkers starting Sunday.

“When I talk about the most drastic action we can take, this is the most drastic action we can take,” Cuomo said at a press conference in Albany. Cases across the state surged by 2,950 overnight to 7,102, he said. “This is not life as usual. Accept it. Realize it and deal with it.”

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