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New York state virus toll spikes as officials plea for medical volunteers

NEW YORK: New York state’s coronavirus toll continued rising at a devastating pace Saturday, as authorities issued an emergency plea for volunteers to assist in the crisis plaguing the US pandemic’s epicenter.

The state has recorded 3,565 deaths as it continues on an inexorable path to an apex in total cases.

With already strained hospitals scrambling to prepare for a growing influx of patients, Governor Andrew Cuomo warned the worst was yet to come.

In his daily briefing the governor said infections could peak in the state in anywhere from four to 14 days — but he cautioned that hospitals were not yet prepared.

“Part of me would like to be at the apex and just, ‘let’s do it.’ But there’s part of me that says it’s good that we’re not at the apex because we’re not yet ready,” Cuomo said.

‘Like an entire lifetime’

The death toll in the state was up from 2,935 the previous day; the additional 630 deaths represented the largest 24-hour spike recorded there.

New York’s statewide total is now roughly 6,000 shy of hard-hit Italy’s total number of cases.

New York City, meantime, has tallied 63,306 confirmed cases and 2,624 deaths.

Cuomo said recent weeks have felt “like an entire lifetime.”

“I think we all feel the same, these stresses, this country, this state  — like nothing I’ve experienced in my lifetime.”

He said the federal government will now staff and equip the overflow hospital set up at Manhattan’s sprawling Javits Convention Center for treatment of those infected with coronavirus. The facility can take in 2,500 patients.

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