The dramatic spike brought the number of novel coronavirus deaths since the outbreak reached the United States in late January to at least 921. Sunday morning — less than four days ago — the nationwide total was 326 deaths, according to CNN data derived from state reports.
Officials reported 216 deaths Wednesday, an increase higher than any other day. Tuesday saw 164 reports. Experts have said numbers will rise dramatically as more tests are administered and analyzed.
At the White House coronavirus task force news conference, President Donald Trump said: “The more aggressively we commit to social distancing … the more lives we can save.” More than 65,000 people in the United States have now had a positive test for the novel coronavirus.
With the number of positive coronavirus tests increasing sharply each day, states and local communities are having to break or bend the rules to increase the resources to fight the deadly disease.
In Texas, for instance, the state will allow medical facilities that are awaiting their licenses or those that have closed in the past 36 months to come online.
“By waiving these rules, we can quickly bring many of these facilities online to help Texas communities maximize their hospital capacity and provide care to Texans in need,” Gov. Greg Abbott said.
There have been almost 1,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Texas and 12 deaths.
Abbott said the hospitals coming online will be administered by medical centers that have licenses. One rule being temporarily waived is the need for a facility to have a fire marshal’s report to get a license.
The measures put into effect by governments also include releasing people in jail early.
At least 200 detainees will be released by Wednesday night from jails across New York City if the people don’t pose a threat to the public, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal told reporters Monday the state will initiate a process by which low-level offenders will be released from jail due to Covid-19 concerns.
This continues a trend that began last week.
Medical students answering the call early
Another way officials have been dealing with the crisis has been to call upon retired health care workers to return to hospitals.
And at New York University, the Grossman School of Medicine has sought students who want to graduate early in response to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “directive to get more physicians into the health system more quickly,” the school said in a statement.
As of Wednesday afternoon, 69 of about students had volunteered.
The school still needs the plan to be approved by state and education officials.
Health official: US doesn’t have to become epicenter
“The potential is there, but you’ve still got time to turn it around,” WHO’s Margaret Harris said.