The warning was delivered by Mark Levine, chair of the NYC council health committee, on BBC Newsnight.

The United States has more recorded cases of coronavirus than any other country in the world, after it overtook China this week.

Parts of the country, including California and New York, are under lockdown in a bid to stop the deadly virus spreading.

New York has recorded 44,000 coronavirus cases, almost half the US total, which have caused 519 deaths.

Mr Levine said: “We have a desperate need for equipment and supplies.

 “We cannot produce them in New York City, we rely on the industrial base of the country to produce things like ventilators, masks, face shields, surgical gloves and only a coordinated effort at the national level will get us what we need.

At the moment states are actually competing against each other, trying to outbid each other, to secure contracts for some of this equipment.

“It’s just insane, it’s unsustainable and it’s not producing enough.

“Today in New York City we have supplies that will last us days, not weeks. We’re chasing the same producers around the world.

“Governors are not even revealing the names of the producers they are acquiring from because they don’t want another state to get in on it.

“It’s absurd and it’s left us with wholly inadequate stock of the things we need to protect our healthcare workers as they confront a rising number of patients.”

On Friday Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced they have tested positive for coronavirus.

Both plan to continue working whilst they self-isolate to prevent the disease spreading.

President Trump has insisted the outbreak is under control and earlier this week suggested America could be largely opened up again for Easter.


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At a White House press conference he said: “My Administration is actively planning the next phase in an all-out war against this horrible virus.”

Italy announced its highest daily coronavirus death toll on Friday, with 919 deaths in 24 hours.

In total 9,134 people in Italy have died from the virus, the highest figure in the world.

Mr Levine hit back sharply at President Trump’s claim Americans could return to work by Easter.

He said: “It’s pure fantasy and it’s dangerous for him to say that because it sends a message to the public that they can start to ease up on social distancing, that perhaps they don’t need to stay at home, and that will have the effect of accelerating the spread of this virus.

“We need clear communication from leaders.

“We need them to tell it to us straight – this is going to be a long fight and the time for letting up is not on the horizon.”

After announcing his infection on Twitter Mr Johnson said: “I’m working from home and self-isolating and that’s entirely the right thing to do.

“But, be in no doubt that I can continue, thanks to the wizardry of modern technology, to communicate with all my top team to lead the national fight-back against coronavirus.”

Prince Charles has also tested positive for the virus and has self-isolated at the Queen’s Balmoral estate in Scotland.

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