With an unprecedented 66,000 coronavirus cases now reported in New York State, an emergency hospital was erected in tents in Central Park Sunday, as New York City’s staggering toll of coronavirus deaths rose to at least 776, pushing the statewide count past 1,000.
“We’re going to be using every place we need to use to help people,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “This is the kind of thing you will see now as this crisis develops and deepens.”
As SCMP reports, the emergency site will open at the park’s East Meadow on Tuesday and house 68 hospital beds for coronavirus patients, according to de Blasio. He said the Mount Sinai Health System, the faith-based charity Samaritan’s Purse – run by Franklin Graham, son of the late televangelist Billy Graham – the Central Park Conservancy and his own office were collaborating on the undertaking.
Graham put out a call for help on Twitter Sunday, and posted a video of workers building the tents to house the field hospital.
“If you are a Christian doctor, nurse, paramedic, or other medical professional interested in serving Covid-19 patients in our @SamaritansPurse Emergency Field Hospital in NYC, please visit http://samaritanspurse.org" he wrote. Samaritan’s Purse built a similar temporary facility in Italy to help deal with the crisis there.
If you are a Christian doctor, nurse, paramedic, or other medical professional interested in serving COVID-19 patients in our @SamaritansPurse Emergency Field Hospital in NYC, please visit https://t.co/EEw1jNtrrk. pic.twitter.com/5i7EeKxLDi— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) March 29, 2020
As reported previously, US federal officials are also building an emergency 1,000-bed hospital at the Jacob Javits Convention Centre in Manhattan. The Army Corps of Engineers has also identified sites in Westchester County, home to the state’s first large cluster of coronavirus cases, and on Long Island for emergency hospitals.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose 10.8 per cent during the same time span, from 29,158 to 32,308. Between 9:30am and 4:15pm Sunday, another 98 people died and 1,166 more people were diagnosed with Covid-19, bringing the number of dead to 776.
“It’s so painful for everyone that we’re going through this and we have to fight back with everything we’ve got,” de Blasio said. “Every death is painful. I feel a particular sense of loss when it’s one of our public servants.”
It took Spain 18 days to go from its first death to its 1,000th, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Italy took 21 days. New York state took 16 days.
New Yorkers are hearing a constant wail of sirens as weary ambulance crews respond to a record volume of 911 calls. New York medical staff are struggling with long hours and a dire need for hospital-grade masks and other protective gear.
The city’s ambulances are also responding to about 6,000 calls a day more than 50 per cent more than average. Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said Sunday that the last five days have been the busiest stretch in the history of the city’s EMS operation. “This is unprecedented,” de Blasio said. “We have never seen our EMS system get this many calls – ever.”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo offered a faint glimmer of hope in the crisis, saying the rate at which new cases was doubling slowed to once every six days, down from once every other day earlier this month: “The doubling rate is slowing and that is good news, but the number of cases are still going up,” Cuomo said. “So you’re still going up towards an apex, but the rate of the doubling is slowing.”
Nevertheless, he extended the state’s “pause” order shuttering most businesses and urging New Yorkers to stay at home as much as possible.
New York State’s confirmed number of coronavirus cases reached 66,000 on Monday – roughly 7,000 new cases according to Cuomo’s office. That came as US President Donald Trump extended nationwide guidelines urging residents to stay home and avoid social gatherings to April 30, and as US health officials warned the country’s coronavirus death toll could top 200,000 people.
The USNS Comfort, a US Navy hospital ship with 1,000 beds, 12 operating rooms and a full medical staff, arrived in the city on Monday, much to Rachel Maddow's dismay. It will be used to treat non-coronavirus patients to free up space in city hospitals.