More than half of New York City can expect to become infected with the coronavirus, Mayor Bill de Blasio warned as confirmed cases rose to 17,000 Wednesday. “The world we knew is gone,” he said, “and it’s not coming back, not for the next few months. That’s the blunt truth.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said social distancing has helped, but the state will need 140,000 hospital beds.
Nationally, 869 people have died as of Wednesday afternoon. Reports were emerging of more children among the 62,000 U. S. confirmed infections. The global death toll stood at more than 20,000. Italy saw a jump in deaths, now at 6,800, and Spain’s 3,400 deaths have surpassed China’s. Among the world’s 450,000 infections is the U. K.’ s Prince Charles, 71, who has mild symptoms.
‘ Beg mercy for mankind’
Pope Francis invited Christians around the world to pray together, livestreaming from the Vatican’s library. “We pray for the sick and their families; for health workers and those who help them; for the authorities, law enforcement agencies and volunteers; for the ministers of our communities.”
Life in a pandemic
Walmart and other retailers are installing plexiglass sneeze guards at registers. Gap Inc. is shifting resources to make gear for health care workers. Airlines are limiting snack service, while Starbucks says it will serve free coffee to emergency and health care workers through May 3. Waffle House, known for weathering many a disaster, is closing 365 diners.
Meanwhile, Americans in hard- hit states scrambled for testing. More than 100 cars lined up outside a New Jersey virus test site, some overnight. “I don’t understand why there are so many people and so few tests,” one driver said. “This is crazy.”