THE mayor of New York demanded ‘action not words’ from Donald Trump yesterday as the Big Apple became the epicentre of the US outbreak.
Bill de Blasio called on the president to invoke wartime powers to deploy the military and increase production of medical supplies, after the death toll hit 117 in New York state.
He warned the city’s hospitals were days away from running out of ‘really basic’ supplies, telling CNN: ‘If the president doesn’t act, people will die who could have lived otherwise.
‘What I need right now is action, not words. And every day counts.’
New York state now accounts for more than five per cent of the world’s recorded cases, with nearly 16,000.
Mr Trump has ordered the deployment of a US Navy hospital ship to the city, saying: ‘I’m a wartime president… This is a war. A different kind of war than we’ve ever had.’
But he has been accused of sending mixed messages after threatening to lift emergency measures at the end of the month and insisting he ‘cannot let the cure be worse than the problem’.
Presidential aides were meeting US Congress leaders yesterday in a bid to finalise a $2trillion (£1.72trillion) rescue package for the economy. An estimated 3million workers are expected to file for unemployment benefit next week — the highest number of new claims in US history.
Around 167million people in 13 states, including New York, are in near total lockdown. Last night, the nationwide death toll was 471. And the country’s top health official yesterday warned that the outlook is deteriorating.
‘I didn’t expect to be starting my week with such a dire message for America,’ surgeon general Dr Jerome Adams told CBS. ‘I want America to understand it’s going to get bad — we really, really need everyone to stay at home.’
Meanwhile, Mr Trump’s top Covid-19 adviser has revealed he has to tell him the facts repeatedly before he accepts them. Dr Anthony Fauci has had a series of public run-ins with the president, including berating him for continuing to shake hands with people.
‘When you’re dealing with the White House, sometimes you have to say things one, two, three, four times and then it happens,’ Dr Fauci said. ‘So I’m going to keep pushing.’
But he defended his reluctance to correct Mr Trump during his presidential addresses.
‘I can’t jump in front of the microphone and push him down,’ he said.
US just looking for scapegoat after wasting precious time, says China
CHINA has accused the US of ‘completely wasting the precious time’ that Beijing won for the world through its efforts to contain coronavirus.
Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the White House failed to prepare properly for Covid-19 and was now using China as a scapegoat to ‘shift its responsibilities’. The US should ‘stop politicising the epidemic, stop stigmatising and defaming China and other countries’, he added.
The outbreak began before Christmas in Wuhan, China, and US president Donald Trump has called Covid-19 the ‘Chinese virus’.
But Beijing says the draconian travel restrictions it imposed were effective in slowing the spread of infection.
Wuhan has now gone five consecutive days without a new case and restrictions are being eased across the country, where the virus has claimed more than 3,200 lives.
Meanwhile, China is stepping up measures to prevent the disease being brought back from overseas.
International flights to Beijing are being required to land first at airports outside the capital for inspection.