New York state has more coronavirus cases than France or South Korea as infections soar to 15,168

A woman wearing a mask walks the Brooklyn Bridge in the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on March 20, 2020 in New York City.

Victor J. Blue | Getty Images

New York state now has more coronavirus cases than France or South Korea as the number of confirmed infections soared to 15,168, according to new data released by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday.

The outbreak across the state is the worst in the United States. New York now has more COVID-19 cases than several countries struggling to manage their own caseloads, including France, South Korea, Switzerland, and the U.K., according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Within the U.S., Washington state has the next highest number of cases at 1,647 followed by California at 1,518, according to a chart Cuomo presented at a press conference in Albany.

“New York is testing more people than any state in the country and, per capita, more than any country in the globe,” Cuomo said, adding that the state has tested 61,000 people. Roughly 15,000 of those tests are new, identifying 4,800 new cases in the last day, he said.

A list of most impacted states from the coronavirus as of March. 22, 2020.

Source: New York State.

Cuomo said he’s asked the federal government to nationalize the purchase of medical equipment and has signed off on several locations to build temporary hospitals to treat coronavirus patients. 

Cuomo said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will build temporary hospitals in Stony Brook, Westbury, Westchester, New York, and the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, which will contain four federal hospitals with 250 beds each. 

New York state is also running a clinical trial beginning Tuesday of a treatment regimen of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, two drugs that doctors in Africa and elsewhere say they’ve seen good results in fighting the virus.

Cuomo said the federal government needs to nationalize the purchase of needed medical supplies, adding that the shortage of personal protective gear like masks and life-saving equipment like respirators is leading to price gouging. Masks that used to cost 85 cents are now $7, “why because I’m competing against other states,” he said.

“Currently when states are doing it, we are competing against other states. In some cases, we’re savaging other states,” Cuomo said. “This is just an impossible situation to manage, if we don’t get the equipment, we could lose lives that we could otherwise save if we had the equipment.”

New York City is the new epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday.

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