New York - Emergency field hospitals were readied in New York's Central Park and at the home of the US Open tennis tournament as the number of American deaths from the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic surged past 4 000 - higher than the toll in China.
The pandemic has killed more than 1 700 New Yorkers and President Donald Trump, a native of the city, warned in Washington of "a very, very painful two weeks" to come for the entire country.
Already the hardest-hit area, America's financial capital is in a race to ramp up hospital capacity before cases peak.
Around a dozen tents, equipped with 68 beds and 10 ventilators, have been put up in Manhattan's iconic park, with Covid-19 patients expected to start arriving.
"You see movies like and you think it's so far from the truth, it will never happen. So to see it actually happening here is very surreal," 57-year-old passerby Joanne Dunbar told AFP on Tuesday.