Coronavirus deaths in the state of New York rose to 3,565 deaths on Saturday at a devastating rate, the governor said, compared to 2,935 the previous day, the largest 24-hour jump recorded there.
The state has now registered 113,704 positive cases – 63,306 in New York City, where 2,624 died – just 6,000 fewer than the total number of Italian cases severely hit.
In his daily briefing, Governor Andrew Cuomo said that infections could peak in the state in four to 14 days, an ever-changing goal that will test the ability of the already taxed health care system to handle a significant influx of sick patients.
"Part of me wants to be at the apex and let's just do it. But part of me says it's good that we're not at the apex because we're not ready yet," said the governor.
He added that the federal government will now staff the overflow hospital at the Javits Center in Manhattan and equip it for the treatment of people infected with coronavirus. The facility can accommodate 2,500 patients.
The state continues its search for much-needed ventilators, Cuomo said, before thanking the Chinese government for donating 1,000 life-saving devices that are expected to arrive on Saturday.
He also said the state of Oregon would supply 140 fans.
Cuomo warned that while the numbers in New York City rose more slowly, the number of cases in neighboring Long Island increased at a worrying rate.
The governor said 85,000 volunteers – including 22,000 from abroad – had signed up to help at the country's coronavirus epicenter.
Hours earlier, the city had sent a wireless emergency alert to its 8.6 million residents asking licensed healthcare workers to volunteer.
"Anyone who's not in this fight yet, we need you," said Mayor Bill de Blasio, pleading for help from "every medical professional: doctor, nurse, respiratory therapist, as you call it."
The mayor has estimated that the city will need 45,000 additional medical workers to fight the pandemic by April and May.