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US death toll surges amid rush to build field hospitals

The US government raced on Tuesday to build hundreds of makeshift hospitals near major cities as healthcare systems were pushed to capacity, and sometimes beyond, by the coronavirus pandemic.

Even as millions of Americans were confined to their homes under strict “stay-at-home” orders, the death toll, as tallied by Reuters, shot up by more than 850 on Tuesday, by far the most for a single day.

Nearly half of the new fatalities were in New York state, the epicenter of the pandemic despite closed businesses and deserted streets. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio pleaded for immediate reinforcements in the country’s biggest city from the Trump administration.

Nearly 3,900 people have already died from COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, in the United States, more than the 2,977 who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The total confirmed US cases rose to over 188,000.

Worldwide, there are now more than 800,000 cases of the highly contagious illness and more than 40,000 deaths reported.

The number of US deaths could range from 100,000 to 240,000 even if Americans continue to stay home and limit contact with others, experts predicted at a media briefing in the White House with President Donald Trump.

Trump warns Americans of a tough two weeks in coronavirus fight

Trump warns Americans of a tough two weeks in coronavirus fight President Donald Trump warned Americans they would have a very tough two weeks coming in the fight against the coronavirus as he urged everyone to follow federal social distancing guidelines through the end of April.

Trump, reversing course, said this week that most businesses and schools should remain shut at least through the end of April. Trump, speaking at the White House on Tuesday, said the next two weeks would be “very, very painful” for the country.

US emergency medical stockpile nearly out of protective gear as demand rises

The US is suffering from a lack of medical supplies amid the coronavirus crisis and ventilators have become a high priority, as they are used to help treat patients with the virus.

An emergency stockpile of medical equipment maintained by the US government has nearly run out of protective gear that could be useful to combat the coronavirus pandemic, according to two officials with the US Department of Homeland Security.

The near-exhausted supply includes masks, respirators, gloves, gowns and face shields, the officials said. A small amount of gear has been set aside for federal first responders, according to one of the officials, both of whom requested anonymity to discuss the matter.

The US Strategic National Stockpile aims to provide medical supplies during emergencies so severe they cause shortages. But states across the country have called on the federal government in recent weeks to send them large quantities of gear to help hospitals deal with surging cases of COVID-19.

Pentagon hanging on to 2,000 ventilators

Despite the severe shortage of supplies, the Pentagon is holding on to 2,000 ventilators because they don’t know where to ship them, according to CNN.

The ventilators are part of military stocks, and Pentagon officials say that despite offering them out two weeks ago, they have not been told where to ship them.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have to decide where the stocks will be used most effectively and then send the address to the Defense Department, before they can be shipped.

(Source: Agencies)

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