Live updates: Economic relief on the way in U.S., Europe; China reports no new local coronavirus infections

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) speaks during a news conference March 13 at a coronavirus infection testing facility at Glen Island Park in New Rochelle, N.Y.
New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) speaks during a news conference March 13 at a coronavirus infection testing facility at Glen Island Park in New Rochelle, N.Y. (John Minchillo/AP)

New York conducted thousands of tests for the novel coronavirus Wednesday night, with more than 4,100 now tested positive, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) said in a news conference Thursday, part of a recent big jump he said was related to the testing boost.

Cuomo announced additional restrictions and relief measures in New York, now home to the most coronavirus cases in the United States, and accounting for nearly two dozen deaths there.

Businesses and facilities can only staff at a quarter of their usual levels, he said, unless they are essential services such as pharmacies, hospitals and grocery stores. The remainder must work from home, he said.

He also announced a 90-day relief on mortgage payments to give financial help to stressed homeowners, and said foreclosures would be postponed or suspended.

As he has said in recent days, Cuomo stressed the brutal reality of his state’s ventilator shortage, saying hospitals need 5 to 6 times the amount it has on hand to treat coronavirus patients.

The state needs about 30,000 ventilators across New York, but only has between 5 to 6,000, Cuomo said.

State health officials project a peak of cases in about five or six weeks, he said, with an anticipated crush of more than 110,000 hospitalizations.

As many as a third of those may need ICU beds, he said, in a scenario “that vastly overwhelms our health-care capacity.”

The Navy will dispatch the USNS Comfort — a 1,000-bed floating hospital complete with medical facilities — to dock in New York’s harbor in a federal effort to help the state.

The ship, which specializes in treating trauma, will most likely be used to relieve New York hospitals dealing with other medical problems so they can focus on the coronavirus.

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