The coronavirus pandemic hit its newest grim milestone of 50,000 deaths Thursday and 1 million cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Meanwhile the outbreak continues to pummel the New York-New Jersey metro area. New York now has more than 93,000 cases— prompting a sober warning from Gov. Andrew Cuomo about the state’s dwindling medical supplies.
With a growing number of patients needing ventilators, the state’s stockpile is quickly depleting, he said. “We have about six days in the stockpile,” Cuomo said during a briefing Thursday.
Saint Barnabas emergency medicine physician Dr. Ernest Patti told Yahoo Finance on Thursday that the number of patients on ventilators that are COVID-19 positive has significantly increased recently. That is in addition to the car accidents and other medical and surgical emergencies that they regularly see at the Bronx-based New York City hospital.
“The cases have dramatically increased since last weekend,” Patti said, adding that the hospital has been able to secure enough medical supplies. And the community has rallied to help too, he said, including a local school donating goggles, masks, lab coats and gloves from their chemistry labs.
Meanwhile, New Jersey continues to see a surge in its cases, surpassing 25,000 Thursday. Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order allowing the state to commandeer medical supplies and equipment from private companies “in order to help the continued need for ventilators and personal protective equipment” in health facilities.
At the federal level, Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to ensure supplies for ventilator manufacturers including GE and Medtronic.
The spike in numbers is an indication that testing is being done, but as noted by Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, not all of the high volume tests that are on the market are being used, and not all completed tests are being reported. Many health experts have noted a plateau in U.S. testing, despite the rise in market capacity of tests.
For those of us who thought we would be well on our way to 1M or more tests per day by this point, plateau in testing is NOT the plateau we were looking for. (caveat about negative test results from private labs is hopeful, but also frustrating - how difficult is it to report..?) https://t.co/iQG6u4WTxf
— (((Howard Forman))) (@thehowie) April 1, 2020
An astonishing 6.6 million Americans filed initial jobless claims in the last week, according to the U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday.
“Claims are likely to remain elevated throughout April, especially as more business owners and workers learn about the more generous unemployment insurance benefits included in the Phase 3 legislation,“ Goldman Sachs economist David Mericle said.
[Read more: Jobless claims soar to record-breaking 6.648 million]
Despite the shocking jobs news, markets rose early in the trading session, and all three major indices stayed mostly positive throughout the day— in large part due to a tweet from Trump on a deal brokered between Saudi Arabia and Russia to slow oil production.
[Read more: Oil posts biggest one-day gain on record]
In Washington, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the next phase of the stimulus package is being worked on, and that the House is launching a new bipartisan committee to focus on the virus.
Specifically, Pelosi said, the committee will be responsible for oversight of the Phase 3 package and ensure there is no waste and fraud, as well as monitor price-gouging during the outbreak.