The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus pandemic climbed past 3,000 on Monday, the deadliest day yet in the country’s mounting crisis, while New York cheered the arrival of a gleaming 1,000-bed U.S. Navy hospital ship as a sign of hope in the city’s desperate fight.
In a grim new milestones marking the spread of the virus, total deaths across the United States hit 3,017, including at least 540 on Monday, and the reported cases climbed to more than 163,000, according to a Reuters tally.
People in New York and New Jersey lined both sides of the Hudson River to cheer the U.S Navy ship Comfort, a converted oil tanker painted white with giant red crosses, as it sailed past the Statue of Liberty accompanied by support ships and helicopters.
The Comfort will treat non-coronavirus patients, including those who require surgery and critical care, in an effort to free up other resources to fight the virus, the Navy said.
Hospitals in the New York City area have been overrun with patients suffering from COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the virus. Officials have appealed for volunteer healthcare workers.
The United States has the most confirmed cases in the world, a number that is likely to soar when tests for the virus become more widespread.
President Donald Trump told a White House briefing that more than 1 million Americans had been tested for coronavirus – less than 3% of the population. While the United States has ramped up testing after a series of setbacks, it still lags countries like Italy and South Korea on a per capita basis.
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