New York coronavirus hell: Makeshift morgues outside hospitals for first time since 9/11

The looming disaster has spooked politicians and health care workers alike – with one doctor admitting: “We’re scared.” Refrigerated lorries were parked outside several large medical centres in the five boroughs – Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island – to cope with the overflow of victims – with 98 people dying yesterday in just seven hours. Bellevue Hospital has arranged for tents to be put up for the same purpose in Manhattan East – the first time such makeshift facilities have been deployed since the aftermath the terror attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001.

New York state on Sunday reported nearly 60,000 cases and a total of 965 deaths, up 237 in the past 24 hours.

In the city itself, 33,768 residents have tested positive so far, out of 143,055 nationwide, according to Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center

Queens, the city’s largest borough, had 10,373 cases as of yesterday.

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The numbers are staggering

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio

It was followed by Brooklyn with 8,451, the Bronx with 6,145, Manhattan with 5,438 and Staten Island with 1,866.

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio said: “The numbers are staggering.

“This is unprecedented. We’ve never seen our EMS system get this many calls, ever.”

Dr Arabia Mollette, an emergency medicine physician at Brookdale University Hospital Medical Center in Brooklyn and St Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx, said she now worked in a “medical war zone.”

She added: “We’re trying to keep our heads above water without drowning.

“We are scared. We’re trying to fight for everyone else’s life, but we also fight for our lives as well.”

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Commenting on the city’s plight, Quentin Hill, a 27-year-old New Yorker who works for a Jewish nonprofit organisation, said: “It feels very apocalyptic.

“It almost feels like we’re in wartime.”

Meanwhile workmen yesterday began putting up tents in Central Park to take overflow patients from Mount Sinai West hospital.

Explaining the move last week, a statement issued by the hospital explained: “The tents will be critical in helping us limit the spread of the disease between patients and staff.”

The tents would expand the “footprint” of the hospital’s emergency facilities, the statement added.

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, yesterday said the pandemic could ultimately kill between 100,000 and 200,000 people in the United States if measures being taken to slow the spread of COVID-19 were unsuccessful.

He added: “We feel the mitigation we are doing right now is having an effect.

“The decision to extend this mitigation process until the end of April is a wise and prudent decision.”

His comment were likely reference to the news that US President Donald Trump had reconsidered his initial suggestion that he might order the reopening of the US economy by Easter – one which triggered warnings by health care professionals about the dire risk of doing so.

Speaking in the Rose Garden yesterday, Mr Trump said: “The peak, the highest point of death rate, is likely to hit in two weeks.

“Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory is won.”

“The better you do, the faster this whole nightmare will end.”

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