De Blasio calls for 'national enlistment' of medical personnel amid coronavirus outbreak
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New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioMacy's will still hold Thanksgiving Day Parade amid pandemic The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - COVID-19 fears surround Thanksgiving holiday New York City to add COVID-19 checkpoints at bridges, crossings MORE (D) on Thursday called for a “national enlistment of medical personnel” in the city, which has become the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. 

“We need a national enlistment of medical personnel,” de Blasio said in a tweet to his followers. “Anyone with medical training that can be spared needs to come to the front. Today the front is NYC, but it will be all 50 states.”

The mayor’s calling for additional medical staff comes after weeks of reports of hospitals in the city being overwhelmed with patients and even lacking body bags for those who have died. 

“If we're going to save lives it means enlisting health professionals in national service,” he said. 

In the same series of tweets, de Blasio also advised that residents wear any kind of makeshift face mask should they need to be outside in the city to stem the spread through asymptomatic carriers. The mayor said that he received the recommendation from medical experts within the last 24 hours. De Blasio also cautioned, however, to save medical masks for health care workers. 

New York City has confirmed more than 51,800 cases and reported 1,397 deaths as of Thursday evening, according to a count by Johns Hopkins University.