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N.Y. coronavirus cases pass 75,000; firefighter among dead in N.J.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said his brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, has tested positive for COVID-19.

By
Don Jacobson
A body wrapped in red fabric is rolled to a hearse, handled by medical workers wearing  masks, equipment and garments as protection from COVID-19 contamination at Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York City on Tuesday.  Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
A body wrapped in red fabric is rolled to a hearse, handled by medical workers wearing  masks, equipment and garments as protection from COVID-19 contamination at Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York City on Tuesday.  Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

March 31 (UPI) -- The number of new coronavirus cases in New York, the U.S. epicenter for the outbreak, has climbed by nearly 10,000 to almost 76,000, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.

The state's death toll surpassed 1,550. In New York City alone, there's been an increase of nearly 5,700 cases, Cuomo told reporters.

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The governor said the situation for patients and front-line healthcare workers in New York City is becoming more dire and the apex of new cases isn't expected to be reached for another two weeks.

"They need relief," Cuomo said of hospital staff. "They are physically exhausted, and more importantly, they are emotionally exhausted.

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"Other disasters like hurricanes and floods happen fast, they're over, you start rebuilding. This is different. This is ongoing and the duration itself is debilitating and exhausting and depressing."

Cuomo confirmed that his brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, has tested positive for COVID-19.

"Everyone is subject to this virus," he said. "I don't care how smart, how rich, how powerful you think you are."

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that every one of the city's 20,000 hospital beds could soon be needed to care for seriously ill COVID-19 patients.

By mid-Tuesday, the United States had nearly 166,000 cases and 3,200 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. That toll is higher than the total number killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

New Jersey officials said a 33-year-old firefighter from Passaic died of the coronavirus disease. The state also recorded its single largest daily increase in cases to date.

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In California, the number of cases has surpassed the 7,000 mark and the death toll was near 150.

Local officials in the San Francisco Bay Area jointly extended a shelter-in-place order through the end of April, while Gov. Gavin Newsom announced plans to recruit retired healthcare workers and medical students nearing graduation to help cope with the surge in patients.

Newsom also signed an executive order providing extensions for the state tax deadline and licensing for small businesses.

In South Carolina, Gov. Henry McMaster on Tuesday closed all beaches, saying the decision was a result of "behavior observed this past weekend."

In Michigan, General Motors and the United Autoworkers Union are working to transform a shuttered former transmission plant into a production center for much-needed medical face masks.

With more than two dozen workers from Detroit-area plants to staff the line, the facility in Warren, Mich., began full-scale work this week. Officials said it will deliver the first 20,000 masks to front-line healthcare workers on Wednesday. Once the line is at full capacity, it's expected to produce up to 50,000 masks per day -- and 1.5 million per month.

In Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards said he's been assured by President Donald Trump his state will receive 150 ventilators from the federal government's Strategic National Stockpile.

The ventilators "will be the first" to Louisiana from the federal government.

"Though I surely hope they will not be the last," Edwards said. "We don't yet know when they will arrive in state or exactly what type of ventilators they are. But I very much appreciate this support."

The governor added that Louisiana has ordered 14,000 ventilators, including 5,000 from the national stockpile.

"Louisiana has the third-highest number of cases per capita, and I will continue to fight to make sure our state's needs are not lost in the national conversation."

Jefferson and Orleans parishes have a total of more than 2,300 cases and 120 deaths.

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Bass Pro Shops marketing manager David Smith (R) carries a box of donated face masks into Mercy Health in Chesterfield, Mo., on May 13. The company is donating 1 million FDA-approved ASTM Level 1 Procedure Face Masks to healthcare workers and first responders working on the front lines of the pandemic. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

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