New York prepares for the worst as death toll hits 192

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Makeshift morgues with tents and refrigeration trucks is set up outside Manhattan hospital in preparation for potential surge in coronavirus victims as New York City’s death toll rises to 192

  • Military personnel and NYC Medical Examiner’s Office employees were spotted outside Manhattan’s Bellevue Hospital on Wednesday as the makeshift morgue was set up
  • Huge white dome-like tents and multiple refrigeration trucks were set up as part of the makeshift facility
  • Nearly 14,800 people in New York City have been diagnosed with coronavirus as of Tuesday and the death toll rose to 192
  • More than 2,800 people in the city have been hospitalized because of the virus and more than 600 were being treated in intensive care
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has predicted the state could be as close as two weeks away from a crisis that sees 40,000 people in intensive care
  • New York City hospitals have become the war-zone-like epicenter of the nation’s coronavirus crisis as the number of cases continue to increase

A makeshift morgue has been set up outside a Manhattan hospital in a bid to handle any possible surge in coronavirus victims as the New York City death roll rose to 192. Armed military personnel, NYPD and NYC Medical Examiner’s Office employees were spotted outside Manhattan’s Bellevue Hospital on Wednesday as crew members erected huge white tents as part of the makeshift facility.

In addition to the dome-like tents, multiple refrigeration trucks were also lined up at the site in Midtown along 30th Street and the FDR Drive parkway. The coronavirus death toll in New York City has risen to 192 and there are now 17,000 confirmed cases, accounting for more than half the cases in the hardest-hit state in the nation.

A makeshift morgue was set up outside Bellevue Hospital in New York City hospital on Wednesday in a bid to handle any possible surge in coronavirus victims.

More than 2,800 people in the city are hospitalized because of the virus – double the figure from three days earlier – and more than 600 are being treated in intensive care.  In New York state, there are now 30,000 coronavirus cases and the death toll is currently 285.

Multiple refrigeration trucks were lined up at the makeshift morgue site along 30th Street and the FDR Drive parkway near Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan.

New York state currently has a 12 percent hospitalization rate in relation to coronavirus, according to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. He had earlier predicted the state could be as close as two weeks away from a crisis that sees 40,000 people in intensive care.

Such a surge would overwhelm hospitals, which now have just 3,000 intensive care unit beds statewide.  ‘We are not slowing it. And it is accelerating on its own,’ Cuomo said. ‘One of the forecasters said we were looking at a freight train coming across the country. We’re now looking at a bullet train,’ he said.

White House officials said Tuesday that anyone who has recently been to New York should self quarantine for 14 days. Dr Deborah Birx, the response coordinator for the White House task force, warned that people leaving the hardest hit area of the US might not be sick but could have been exposed to the virus.

‘We remain deeply concerned about New York City and the New York metro area. About 56 percent of all cases in the United States are coming out of the NY metro area,’ she said.

New York City hospitals have become the war-zone-like epicenter of the nation’s coronavirus crisis as the number of cases continue to increase.

Faced with an infection rate that is five times that of the rest of the country, health workers are putting themselves at risk to fight a tide of sickness that’s getting worse by the day amid a shortage of needed supplies and promises of help from the federal government that have yet to fully materialize.

‘You’re on 100% of the time — no matter what,’ said Dr Jolion McGreevy, medical director of The Mount Sinai Hospital emergency department. ‘It’s been a month of full force, and that’s certainly very stressful.’

Patients initially showed up with fairly mild symptoms, ranging from a runny nose to a mild fever, concerned they contracted coronavirus. That shifted over the past week, McGreevy said, and now hospitals are receiving far sicker patients in need of life-saving intervention.

‘These are people in severe respiratory distress, needing to be intubated and needing the intensive care unit,’ he said. ‘We knew it was coming. We saw it in Italy and other places so we were prepared for it, and now we’re seeing it.’

Dr Craig Spencer, who survived a bout of Ebola in 2014 and now is director of global health in emergency medicine at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, tweeted on Tuesday of a ‘cacophony of coughing’ in the ER, saying nearly every patient he encounters has the same symptoms, regardless of age: a persistent hack, shortness of breath and fever.

‘You’re afraid to take off the mask,’ he said. ‘It’s the only thing that protects you.’

Smith said hospitals in the New York-Presbyterian system are burning through about 40,000 masks a day amid the crisis – about 10 times the normal amount – and have begun issuing staff members just one each day.

Mayor Bill De Blasio said about 2.2 million masks were delivered to hospitals Monday, with additional supplies en route from the state and federal governments. But he said there would have to be a lot more where that came from.

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