• Video report by ITV News Washington Correspondent Robert Moore

New York's hospitals are now on the front line of this coronavirus war - with 400 dead in this state alone and well over a thousand patients in intensive care.

But as New Yorkers queue up hoping to be tested, most worrying is the projection that the United States is still several weeks from the peak of the pandemic - suggesting that the health care system is almost certain to be overwhelmed.

On Friday, I spoke to intensive care nurse Michelle Gonzalez, who says that many on the wards are running short on personal protective equipment (PPE) and that patients are dying without being able to be with their closest family.

Most worryingly, she describes herself and her colleagues as conducting “war-time medicine.”

A medical worker looks out onto a line of patients waiting for COVID-19 testing outside Elmhurst Hospital Center. Credit: AP

In total, the country’s mayors have, as of Friday, assessed that US cities need 28.5 million face masks, 24.4 million other items of personal protection equipment, 7.9 million test kits and 139,000 ventilators.

But despite such startling statistics, some White House medical advisers are rebuking the media for reporting shortages of equipment.

Dr Deborah Birx, the White House Task Force Covid-19 coordinator, says there are plenty of resources available, including ventilators.

People riding the subway in New York. Credit: AP

And the President himself is continuing to talk of returning to life as normal, with his aim to open up America for business by Easter Sunday, two weeks away.

Experts say that is wholly unrealistic, or, as Dr Anthony Fauci, the infectious disease expert diplomatically puts it, that date is “aspirational.”

Trump’s hopes and Dr Birx’s assessment certainly feel deeply disconnected from the reality. US hospital ships are heading towards New York and Los Angeles, and the National Guard are converting convention centres into emergency hospitals.

Despite reassurances from the White House, Andrew Cuomo, the Governor of New York, says he will need more than TEN times the number of intensive care beds currently available.

That surely underlines the scale of the crisis poised to sweep across the US.

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