Business Insider Edition

Donald Trump approves a major disaster declaration for New York over coronavirus

Sonam Sheth , Business Insider US
 Mar 21, 2020, 12:30 PM
Coronavirus, New York
(Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
  • President Donald Trump has approved a major disaster declaration for the state of New York over the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced on Friday.
  • New York has been hit hardest out of all 50 US states by the virus, which causes a potentially fatal disease known as COVID-19.
  • As of Friday afternoon, there were almost 8 310 confirmed cases in the state, out of which 5 151 were in New York City. Forty-two people have died from the virus so far.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said around 1 250 people, or 18% of the total number of infected patients in the state, were hospitalised. He also issued a statewide order for all nonessential services to shut down.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

President Donald Trump has approved a major disaster declaration for the state of New York over the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced on Friday.

"Pres. Trump just approved a major disaster declaration for New York to fight coronavirus," Schumer tweeted, adding that he and fellow New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand had pushed for it. "FEMA needs to get to work NOW to open these MANY billions in direct aid for New York and individuals to help save lives and protect public health."

New York has been hit hardest out of all 50 US states by the virus, which causes a potentially fatal disease known as Covid-19.

As of Friday afternoon, there were 8 310 confirmed cases in the state, out of which 5 151 were in New York City. The total number in the state is over 2,000 more than were detected the previous day. Forty-two people have died from the virus so far.

Of the cases in the city, 1 518 were in Brooklyn, 1 406 in Queens, 1 314 in Manhattan, 667 in the Bronx, and 242 in Staten Island.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said around 1 250 people, or 18% of the total number of infected patients in the state, were hospitalised. Medical facilities in the state are already hurtling toward the brink of collapse as healthcare workers and hospitals face a severe shortage of supplies.

State officials estimated this week that the number of coronavirus cases in New York will peak in around 45 days, or early May. Both Cuomo and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio have compared the situation to a war zone.

Officials have largely attributed the rapid increase in confirmed cases to New York's initiative to administer as many testing kits as possible to detect the virus and slow its spread.

On Friday morning, the governor issued a statewide order for all nonessential services to shut down beginning Sunday at 20:00 ET. Cuomo said he would sign an executive order barring people from traveling to work unless they are employees of essential businesses like pharmacies or grocery stores.

Business that don't comply with the order will be fined, and all nonessential gatherings of any size should be canceled or postponed, he added.

The governor also ordered New Yorkers to limit their outdoor activity and avoid public transportation as much as possible. People who leave their homes should practice social distancing at all times, he said, and maintain at least six feet of distance between themselves and others.

The World Health Organisation declared the coronavirus a pandemic on March 11. To date, 271 629 people around the world have become infected and 11 282 have died.

Trump declared a national emergency last week but has since been criticised for continuing to downplay the risks of the virus, misrepresenting information about when a vaccine may become available, and blaming the mainstream media and his critics for the continued escalation of the crisis.

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