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New York City now has over 4,400 cases of coronavirus — the highest in the nation by far

N.Y. shuts down "non-essential" businesses

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced at a press conference Friday that New York City has 4,408 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus. That's more than half of the 7,102 confirmed cases in New York state, and more than any other state in the country. New York City now accounts for nearly 30% of the total number of cases in the U.S.

Nationwide, more than 16,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed as of Friday afternoon, with at least 210 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns HopkinsWashington state has had more deaths than any other state, with 74.

Coronavirus testing across the country is backlogged, so experts warn that the number of cases will dramatically increase in the coming days and weeks as more people get access to tests. Some companies are also developing at-home test kits. 

Cuomo told New York's 19 million residents to stay indoors as much as possible to limit the spread of the virus, and announced an executive order requiring all non-essential businesses to have all 100% of employees work from home. Non-essential gatherings of any size are canceled or postponed, he said. 

His announcement follows California Governor Gavin Newsom's decision to issue a "stay at home" order for his entire state, with the exception of essential workers.

"This is a moment where we need to make tough decisions," Newsom said in a press conference Thursday night.

Cuomo said, "These temporary closures are not going to be easy, but they are necessary to protecting the health and safety of New Yorkers and all Americans." 

"The number one opportunity to make a difference here is to flatten the curve, flatten the increase in the number of cases," Cuomo emphasized. 

He said it is imperative to prevent an overload of the health care system as the rate of hospitalizations increases. He said the current hospital bed capacity in New York state is about 50,000, with only about 3,000 ICU beds.

The state plans to cancel all non-critical elective surgeries, double room capacity at hospitals, set up temporary facilities at schools and convention centers and ask doctors and nurses to come out of retirement. 

Cuomo said the state will pay a premium to all companies in the business of hospital supplies and asked businesses with the potential to manufacture items such as masks and gloves to "be creative" with the help of funding from the state. 

"Ventilators are to this war what missiles were to World War II," he said, urging health departments to lend unused ones to the state. "We need ventilators. That is the key piece of equipment." 

New York will also implement a 90-day moratorium on evictions for residential and commercial tenants. "We will do all we can to help those financially suffering because of the #COVID19 pandemic," Cuomo tweeted

Coronavirus cases spike as testing ramps up across the country
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