‘This is a moment that forges people’: New York governor rallies forces against coronavirus

I counted four white container lorries on a side-street next to a large Manhattan hospital.

And then another three in the grounds. Seven overflow morgues – a sign of things to come.

At another hospital across town, we watched them carry the body of the latest victim into a similar truck. Another number to add to New York’s rising death toll.

Andrew Cuomo still

‘An insidious beast’ – New York governor on virus

A vast convention centre in the city has been converted into a makeshift hospital.

From there, Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered a rallying cry to the men and women on the frontline. It was one of the most powerful moments of oratory I can remember – leadership at a time of crisis.

US Army and Javit center personnel stand apart while looking on as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks
Image:US Army and Javit center personnel stand apart while listening to Mr Cuomo’s speech

“This is a moment that will be written about in history. This is a moment that forges people. Changes people – make them stronger, make them weaker.

“I won’t ask you to do anything I wouldn’t. I won’t ask you to go anywhere I wouldn’t.

“Ten years from now, you will be talking about today with your children or grandchildren and you will shed a tear.

Makeshift hospital rooms at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York
Image:Improvised hospital rooms are seen at the Jacob K Javits Convention Center in New York

“Because you will remember the lives lost, and you will remember the faces, and you will remember the names.

“And you will remember how hard we worked, and that we still lost loved ones.

“But you will also be proud, you will be proud of what you did.

“You will be proud that you showed up when other people played it safe, you had the courage.”

'Hell' at New York's coronavirus Ground Zero

‘Hell’ at New York’s coronavirus Ground Zero

The US has overtaken China in the number of confirmed cases.

New York is preparing for the worst and you get the sense there is a real inevitability about what comes next.

It’s a race against time, and time is running out.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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