The United States is leading the world in the number of coronavirus cases as of Friday with 85,707 people sick, according to tracking by NBC News — a toll that surpasses the caseload in China where the pandemic ignited in December.
The number of deaths has also risen to 1,268, with New York being the worst hit, accounting for 433 of those killed by COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the number of confirmed cases worldwide has soared to 533,416 and the death toll reaching 24,082 as of 4:15 am ET, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.
President Donald Trump tweeted early Friday that he’d spoken to Chinese President Xi Jinping about the response to the virus. “China has been through much & has developed a strong understanding of the virus. We are working closely together,” Trump said.
At an earlier briefing, Trump said the U.S. is working with the international community, sharing information and data, to fight the virus. He also touted the $2.2 trillion relief package, which Congress is set to vote on Friday, while announcing that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is distributing millions of masks and other equipment to hospitals.
The federal government was sending 2,000 ventilators to New York City, but 15,000 are needed, Mayor Bill de Blasio has said.
Trump cast doubt on the needs of hospitals while calling into Fox News on Thursday night.
"I don't believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators," the president told Sean Hannity. "You know, you go into major hospitals sometimes and they'll have two ventilators. Now all of sudden they're saying, 'Can we order 30,000 ventilators?'"
“There simply are not enough health care resources,” Edwards said. If the current pace of new cases continues, the state could reach capacity as early as April 2 for ventilators and April 7 for hospital beds.
New Orleans alone would need another 1,000 hospital beds by April 8 based on the most recent projections. The city has only received an additional 250 beds from the federal government, Edwards said.
“There is no reason why things that you see coming out of Italy wouldn’t happen here in Louisiana if people don’t engage seriously in these mitigation measures,” he said. “The good news is, we still have time to do it to make a tremendously positive difference in the outcome.”
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With a nationwide lockdown continuing in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus, schools are now facing the prospect of remaining closed for the remainder of the school year and not reopening until September, Italy’s Education Minister Lucia Azzolina told the country’s Senate on Thursday.
In the United Kingdom, people across the country went out to their porches, windows and balconies at 8 p.m. (4 p.m. ET) Thursday to clap for health care workers in a gesture of gratitude and encouragement.
The total number of people with the virus is nearing 12,000 in the U.K., adding to fears the virus will overwhelm the country’s beloved universal health system.
Linda Givetash is a London-based producer for NBC News.
Rebecca Hankins, Ryan Beals, Geoff Bennett, Lidia Sirna and Matthew Mulligan contributed.