US coronavirus death toll passes China as worldwide infections reach 800,000

The US death toll from coronavirus has climbed past 3,500, passing China’s official count.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo said deaths in his state had risen more than 300 from the day before, reaching about 1,550, mostly in New York City. That put the US ahead of China’s official toll of about 3,300.

It came after Spain’s coronavirus deaths jumped by a record number as the medical system strained to care for its tens of thousands of infected patients, and the world total climbed to more than 800,000 cases.

Andrew Cuomo with the USNS Comfort, a naval hospital ship
Andrew Cuomo with the USNS Comfort, a naval hospital ship (Kathy Willens/AP)

Officials in New York announced on Tuesday that 250 more ambulances and 500 paramedics and emergency medics are heading to the city to help manage record numbers of calls for assistance, and a temporary hospital with space for 1,000 people at the Jacob Javits Convention Centre began accepting patients.

New York Health Department also recorded the city’s first death of a person under 18, although details were not disclosed.

Mr Cuomo – whose brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, disclosed he has become infected with the virus – had earlier begged for health care reinforcements, saying up to a million more workers were needed.

Spain and Italy are still struggling to avoid the collapse of their health systems, with Spain saying hospitals in at least half of its 17 regions are at or near intensive care bed limits and more than 13,000 medical workers are among the country’s reported 94,417 infections.

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

Dozens of hotels across Spain have been converted into recovery rooms for patients in less serious condition, and authorities are building makeshift field hospitals in sports centres, libraries and exhibition halls.

Overnight, Spain recorded 849 new deaths, the highest daily toll since the pandemic hit. It has killed 8,189 people in Spain, forcing Madrid to open a second temporary morgue this week after an ice rink pressed into service last week become overwhelmed.