For the past two days, New Yorkers have been dying at a rate of one every 17 minutes, according to the latest grim citywide statistics.
On both Thursday and Friday, another 84 people died in the city from the coronavirus, as the number of positive cases and of those who are critically ill also climbed.
The COVID-19 death toll in the city was 450 as of Friday evening, up from 366 reported fatalities in the morning.
Total citywide coronavirus cases rose to 26,697, up 4.4 percent from the 25,573 reported in the morning.
Across the city, sirens wailed late into the night Friday as ambulance crews raced through empty streets from one call to the next. Medical emergency calls were up 40 percent to about 6,500 a day, shattering historical records and leading to up to 170 callers being put on hold at a time, according to EMS union officials.
Inside the city's hospitals, stretched to their limits by the crisis, healthcare workers faced unspeakable scenes of suffering and death.
'Hell. Biblical. I kid you not. People come in, they get intubated, they die, the cycle repeats,' said Dr Steve Kassapidis of Mount Sinai Queens. '9/11 was nothing compared to this, we were open waiting for patients to come who never came. Now they just keep coming.'
'The hospitals look like a war zone,' Dr Emad Youssef of Brookdale Hospital in Brooklyn told CBS News. 'People lining up out of the hallway, through the EMS bay, through the ambulance bay, with masks on themselves, with oxygen on their nose.'
Doctors and nurses across the city report increasing shortages of vital personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and gowns -- though city and hospital officials are denying the problem.
On Friday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that he believes the city's strained healthcare system has the personnel and supplies to make it through next week, but beyond that is uncertain.
'After next Sunday, April 5, is when I get very, very worried about everything we're gonna need,' he said, saying that an infusion of medical staff and equipment was needed to stave off disaster.
'I've put down that marker to the White House, that that is a decisive moment for the city of New York,' he said, saying the city urgently needs additional federal and military support, as well as at least 15,000 ventilators.
'We need to make sure we can get to that day and face the week after that, and the week after that as well,' de Blasio said. 'Right now we're not there.'
'I think people need to be ready for battle, and the hard truth helps them gird themselves for what's ahead,' he continued.
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