(CNN) — The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States topped 100,000 on Friday as infections quickly spread to new areas of the country.
As of Friday evening, the US has at least 100,013 known cases of coronavirus and 1,545 people have died, according to CNN’s tally of cases reported by health officials.
More than two months have passed since the first case of coronavirus was reported in the country and the US has become the epicenter of the global pandemic, overtaking China and Italy. The virus has hit New York and Washington especially hard but a new wave of coronavirus hot spots is already emerging.
Chicago, Detroit and New Orleans are seeing a rapid increase of cases and health officials there are pleading for medical resources to meet the surges.
Doctors and nurses in the Detroit area are “using one mask for their entire shift,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the Michigan health department’s chief medical executive, told CNN Friday.
“I’ve heard of (them) putting their mask in a paper bag … and taking it out when they think they have a patent who has coronavirus,” Khaldun said.
“We don’t have enough masks; we don’t have enough gowns; and we need more from the federal government and others.”
US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams told “CBS This Morning” on Friday that hot spots like Detroit, Chicago and New Orleans “will have a worse week next week than what they had this week.”
Earlier this week, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said cases in his state were growing faster than anywhere in the world. Jefferson and Orleans parishes, which make up most of metro New Orleans, ranked among the top seven counties nationwide in deaths per 100,000 residents for areas reporting 100 cases or more.
For the third day in a row, health officials across the US reported a record number of deaths in a single day since the pandemic outbreak. At least 359 coronavirus-related deaths were reported Friday.
Latest developments around the country
• Defense Production Act implemented: President Donald Trump has invoked the Defense Production Act, to compel General Motors to produce more ventilators due to increased hospitalizations.
• $2 trillion stimulus package approved: Trump has signed the historic legislation on Friday. It’s key elements include sending checks directly to individuals and families, a major expansion of unemployment benefits and financial assistance for small businesses.
• More travelers asked to self-quarantine: Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced Friday that anyone entering the state should self-quarantine for two weeks. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he’s planning to extend a similar order to include travelers arriving from Louisiana.
• Hospitals are building new wards: Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center is converting a large part of its lobby into a potential ward with beds to help handle an expected surge of patients. Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the city could be expecting up to 40,000 hospitalization in the coming weeks.
• Navy hospital ships deployed: The USNS Mercy, a 1,000-bed Navy hospital ship, arrived Friday at the Port of Los Angeles to treat non-coronavirus patients from area hospitals. A second Navy hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, is expected to reach the New York area next week for the same purpose.
New York governor: President’s ventilator tweet ‘incorrect and grossly uninformed’
Outbreaks in New York, which has just under half the country’s cases, have hospitals already low on staff and running out of some equipment, like protective wear.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo days ago said his state needed another 30,000 ventilators on top of the 7,000 it had. New York has been “shopping literally around the globe” for them, he said Friday.
President Donald Trump on Friday tweeted that thousands of federally delivered ventilators had been found in “New York storage,” and that the state “must distribute them now.”
Cuomo told CNN Friday that this was “incorrect and grossly uninformed.”
The state does have ventilators in a stockpile, and they all haven’t been delivered because “the hospitals aren’t at their apex” yet.
“Of course you don’t need them today. You need them when you hit the (projected) apex, which is 30,000. We’re not there yet,” he said.
Michigan hospitals preparing for ‘worst-case scenario’
A prominent Detroit-area hospital system acknowledged on Friday that it’s preparing for hard life-and-death decisions after a letter was circulated online detailing who would be able to receive lifesaving resources if there’s not enough equipment.
A spokesman for the Henry Ford Health System told CNN the “letter is part of a larger policy document developed for an absolute worst-case scenario.”
“It is not an active policy within Henry Ford, but it is part of our emergency response planning,” the spokesman said, noting none of the system’s hospitals are at capacity with coronavirus patients.
The letter, addressed to patients and their families in the event it is sent, says patients with the best chance of improving would be the first priority. It also says patients treated with a ventilator or ICU care may have those treatments stopped if they do not improve over time.
“Henry Ford is one of America’s great health care systems, and what they put out is honest,” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan told CNN’s Jim Sciutto on Friday. “… Everybody is doing everything we can to stop it, but you would be irresponsible as a health system CEO if you weren’t planning for that eventuality.”
Cuomo: New York may be 21 days away from a peak in cases
The rate of new coronavirus cases is slowing in New York, but it still may take 21 days for the Empire State to hit the apex, Cuomo told reporters Friday in New York City.
The number of new cases is now doubling roughly every four days, down from what had been every two days, Cuomo said.
The state and its National Guard already are assembling four 1,000-bed temporary, overflow hospitals in existing buildings, including at Manhattan’s Javits Convention Center.
New York Bellevue Hospital Center created a makeshift morgue using tents and refrigerated trucks. At Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens, 13 patients died from coronavirus within 24 hours this week.
Several health officials and experts say the fight against coronavirus is still beginning.
“We are in for a bumpy ride for the next 12 to 18 months,” Dr. Ashish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, said Thursday. “If we are aggressive now about stopping things, shutting down, building up a test regime, we can then open up again …. and most places can go back to work.”
“But only when we are ready. And we are nowhere near ready now,” he said.
When President Donald Trump said he hopes to have Americans back at work by Easter, he was making an “aspirational projection,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Doctors, nurses on the front lines
Responding to the rising numbers, some hospitals say they’ve reached a breaking point — both because of overworked staff and few medical supplies left.
A Long Island hospital nurse said patients were streaming in with “non-stop coughing, sweaty, fevers” and with “fear in their eyes.”
“I haven’t slept because my mind won’t shut off. I cried in the bathroom on my break, as I peeled off the PPE from my sweaty self, mask indentations on my face. I cried the entire ride home,” the nurse, whom CNN is not naming, wrote in a social media post.
In one New York City hospital, an assistant nurse manager who suffered from asthma died less than a week after testing positive for the virus.
Kious Jordan Kelly was a “beloved member” of the nursing staff at Mt. Sinai Hospital, the hospital said.
The coronavirus crisis has “turned our frontline professionals into true American heroes,” Mt. Sinai said in a statement Tuesday. “Today, we lost another hero — a compassionate colleague, friend and selfless caregiver.”
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