More than 1,200 people have now died of the coronavirus in New York, but the worst of the outbreak has yet to arrive, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Monday.
Cuomo said the coronavirus is overtaxing the state's health care workers. He asked for the assistance of medical volunteers from other parts of the country as the pandemic continues to devastate New York, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States.
"I am asking health care professionals across the country, if you don't have a health care crisis in your community, please come help us in New York right now," Cuomo said from a makeshift hospital at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan set to receive its first patients on Monday. "We need relief."
Cuomo said more than 66,000 people have tested positive in the state for the coronavirus, accounting for nearly half of all cases in the U.S. About 36,000 of those cases are in New York City.
"That's a lot of loss. That's a lot of pain. That's a lot of tears," Cuomo said. "That's a lot of grief that people all across this state are feeling."
A U.S. Navy hospital ship arrived in the city on Monday to help free up room in the city's hospitals to handle those who have become sick from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Both the 1,000 hospital beds on the Navy ship and the 2,500 beds at the Javits center have a similar aim, Cuomo said.
"Their function will be basically be an overflow valve for existing hospitals. They can't take COVID patients, but they can take non-COVID patients," he said.
Cuomo agreed with President Trump that the fight against the coronavirus is comparable to war.
"Then let's act that way, and let's act that way now," Cuomo said. "Let's show a commonality and a mutuality and a unity that the country hasn't seen in decades."