New York City's Elmhurst Hospital Center is transitioning non-coronavirus patients to other hospitals as it becomes entirely focused on the COVID-19 pandemic—and the stories coming out of the Queens hospital are horrific. "It's apocalyptic," says a resident who performed chest compressions on three patients Tuesday, all of whom died. In fact, the hospital announced Wednesday that over the previous 24 hours, 13 patients had died from complications related to the virus. Some people have died in the emergency room while waiting for one of the public hospital's 545 beds; some have died in their rooms while doctors are busy tending to other patients. Doctors are struggling with just a few dozen ventilators on hand, the New York Times reports. More on the grim situation in NYC:
- Similar stories have been coming out of the city for days; on Monday, the New Yorker described the "growing chaos" in New York City hospitals since the first coronavirus patients started trickling in the first week of March.
- New York City, which reported a total of 20,011 cases and 280 deaths as of Wednesday night—a huge percentage of the US' 54,453 confirmed cases as of Wednesday—has become an epicenter of the pandemic, and all of its more than 1,800 intensive care beds are expected to be full by Friday, according to a FEMA briefing obtained by the Times. All of its morgues are expected to be full by the same day.
- Some morgues are already at capacity, Politico reports. A makeshift morgue has been set up outside Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital, the New York Post reports.
- New York is working to increase its number of ventilators, building four new 250-bed hospitals in Manhattan, expecting a 1,000-bed hospital ship to arrive by mid-April, and even considering using hotels and arenas as temporary medical centers.
- Specialists including obstetrician-gynecologists and radiologists are being called to work in the emergency wards of some hospitals; one hospital has started using one ventilator for multiple patients.
- CNN reports that New York University is even planning to allow senior medical students to graduate three months early so they can go to work. It extended the offer to about 122 seniors, and so far 69 have said yes. The plan still needs final approval, but if it gets it, those who participate will start internships at New York hospitals in April rather than July as originally planned.
- In a sliver of good news, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday, per New York, that social distancing measures appear to be working: On Sunday, hospitalizations were projected to double every two days; by Tuesday, doubling was projected instead every 4.7 days.
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