New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

New York with the highest confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, said it would conduct trials immediately using hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug combined with the antibiotic Zithromax.

The malaria drug has showed promise in a French study in treating COVID-19, which is caused by the coronavirus. It was also effective in China in treating the disease.

“There is a theory the drug treatment could be helpful,” Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters Saturday during a news conference reported by VOA.

He said there were people in serious condition and that the state’s health officials were comfortable trying the treatment on those patients. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration was sending New York 10,000 doses of the two drugs.

“As soon as we get those doses, we will work with hospitals, doctors and families on using those drugs and seeing where we get,” Cuomo said.

U.S. President Donald Trump has also touted the potential of the drug combination to be “one of the biggest game changers” in the fight against the coronavirus.

A warning at a subway in New York asking people to stay at home

Cuomo said New York was also working with several drug companies on possible antibody therapies and vaccines.

New York state has the most coronavirus infections in the country, with more than 10,300 cases as of Saturday morning.

The governor said the high numbers were the result of robust testing to detect the virus — more than 45,000 tests have been administered so far.

“We are taking more tests in New York than anyplace else,” he said. “More tests per capita than China or South Korea. We are also taking more tests than any state in the United States of America.”

Health officials continue to tell New Yorkers to stay indoors as much as possible, but young people continue to defy the order, thinking they are less vulnerable to the virus. But in New York state, 54% of cases are among 18-49-year-olds.

“So you are not Superman and you are not Superwoman,” Cuomo said. “You can get this virus and you can transfer the virus.”

He urged everyone to observe social distancing, ideally remaining 2 meters apart.

One spot of bright news: Cuomo said a hot spot of cases in the New York City suburb of Westchester appeared to be cooling down after a containment zone was imposed.

*Read more in VOA News