Doctors and nurses on the front lines of the US coronavirus crisis are pleading for more protective gear and equipment to treat waves of patients, as the number of known US infections surpassed 100,000, with more than 1,600 dead.
That tally kept the United States as the world leader in the number of known infections, having surpassed China and Italy on Thursday.
Physicians have called particular attention to a desperate need for additional ventilators, machines that help severely affected patients breathe.
Hospitals in New York City, New Orleans, Detroit and other virus hot spots have also sounded the alarm about scarcities of drugs, medical supplies and trained staff.
"We are scared," said Dr. Arabia Mollette of Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Centre in Brooklyn. "We're trying to fight for everyone else's life, but we also fight for our lives as well, because we're also at the highest risk of exposure."
"We have hospital systems here in the Detroit area in Michigan who are getting to the end of their supply of ventilators and have to start telling families that they can't save their loved ones because they don't have enough equipment," a physician, Dr. Rob Davidson, said in a video posted on Twitter.
US President Donald Trump on Friday invoked emergency powers to require General Motors Co to start building ventilators after he accused the largest US automaker of "wasting time" during negotiations.
Dr. Alexander Salerno of Salerno Medical Associates, a general medical practice with offices in northern New Jersey, described going through a "broker" to pay $17,000 for masks and other protective equipment that should have cost about $2,500, and picking them up at an abandoned warehouse.
A number of hotels in New York City, including the famed Plaza Hotel, the St. Regis and the Four Seasons, are making rooms available to medical workers fearful of carrying the virus home to their families after work, or to non-critical care patients, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
At least two New York medical schools, New York University and Columbia, will graduate their fourth-year students early so they can begin treating patients with the coronavirus right away.
In the nation's second-largest city, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said cases were spiking, putting the Southern California region on track to match New York City's infection figures in the next five days.
The mayor spoke as he and California's governor toured a newly arrived naval hospital ship equipped with 1,000 patient beds at the Port of Los Angeles. Its sister vessel is to be deployed to New York Harbour in the near future.
At the Riverside County Fairground east of Los Angeles, California National Guard troops were setting up a 125-bed medical station to serve residents of the Coachella Valley, an area teeming with elderly retirees considered especially vulnerable to COVID-19.
The US military also is setting up field hospitals in Seattle and New York, the Pentagon said.
Australian Associated Press
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