Ohio and Louisiana have become the latest U.S. states to announce broad lockdowns to slow the spread of the coronavirus, as the country’s cases spiked on Sunday to 32,356.
The two states join New York, California, Illinois, Connecticut and New Jersey, home to 100 million Americans combined.
“Every piece of evidence that I can lay my hands on indicates that we’re at an absolutely crucial time in this war and what we do now will make all the difference in the world,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine.
“What we do now will slow this invader. It will slow this invader so our health care system … will have time to treat casualties,”he added.
Ohio has 351 cases and three deaths while Louisiana has 837 cases and 20 deaths, several in a senior care facility.
The mayor of New York City, the epicentre of the nation’s coronavirus epidemic, on Sunday described the outbreak as the biggest domestic crisis since the Great Depression and called for the U.S. military to mobilise to help keep the healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed.
“If we don’t get more ventilators in the next 10 days people will die who don’t have to die,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio, as the nation’s most populous city saw COVID-19 cases top 9,600 and deaths climbed to 63.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo urged the federal government to take over acquisition of medical supplies so states do not have to compete with each other for desperately needed resources. He also repeated a request for the Army Corps of Engineers to build temporary hospitals.
Help is not coming quickly enough, Cuomo said.
“Time matters, minutes count, and this is literally a matter of life and death,” he said. “At the same time, there is not going to be chaos, there is not going to be anarchy. Life is going to go on. Different. But life is going to go on.”
Cuomo warned that 40% to 80% of New York state residents may eventually contract coronavirus. He chastised those who were still congregating in parks and other places and not practicing social distancing. He noted 53% of the cases in New York are between the ages of 18 and 49.
“It’s insensitive, arrogant, self-destructive … and it has to stop, and it has to stop now,” he said, adding he was giving New York City authorities 24 hours to come up with a plan to deal with the situation. “This is not a joke and I’m not kidding.”
The number of cases of the highly contagious respiratory illness in the United States and Spain are exceeded only by China and Italy. Italy reported record numbers of daily coronavirus deaths last week.
“This is going to be the greatest crisis domestically since the Great Depression,” de Blasio told CNN, referring to the economic crisis of the 1930s. “This is why we need a full-scale mobilization of the American military.”
Around the globe, billions are adapting to a new reality, with countries like Italy, Spain and France on lockdown and several South American nations taking similar measures to try to stay ahead of the contagion, as global cases exceeded 315,000 and deaths top 13,000.
The lockdown affecting large segments of the American public to try to curb the spread of the coronavirus is likely to last 10 to 12 weeks, or until early June, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday.
Lawmakers in Washington are nearing a deal that could pump a record $1 trillion into the economy to limit the economic damage from the coronavirus and will vote on the bill Monday.
Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” Mnuchin said the package would give an average U.S. family of four a one-time payment of $3,000.
Republican U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky on Sunday became the first member of the Senate to announce he had tested positive for coronavirus. At least two members of the House of Representatives previously said they tested positive.