Nearly half of the 69,000 cases of covid-19 recorded in the United States until this Thursday have emerged in the state of New York. And, among the five divisions of the North American megacity, the Queens district is the most affected, with 6420 cases – an increase of 1753 between Tuesday and Wednesday and almost twice as much as in the whole of Portugal.
In Elmhurst, a 545-bed hospital serving the more than two million people in Queens, “hundreds of patients with covid-19” are being treated, according to several health professionals’ reports to US newspapers and television channels. Americans.
“We almost ran out of fans on two occasions, but ended up getting more at the last minute,” Colleen Smith, a hospital emergency doctor, told ABC News, who described the Elmhurst corridors as “a stretcher car park.” ”, Where patients arrive with oxygen levels so low that they“ should not be alive ”.
Lack of equipment
At the hospital entrance, the scenario is no less distressing. Some of the people who are in line to undergo the coronavirus test stand from 6 am to 5 pm, often in the rain, and return home unattended.
The newspaper New York Times tells the case of Julio Jimenez, one of the inhabitants of the Queens neighborhood, where almost half of the population was born outside the United States.
Jimenez, 35, went to the emergency room at Elmhurst Hospital on Sunday night, with a fever, at the end of a day’s work in a warehouse in neighboring New Jersey.
On the following days, on Monday and Tuesday mornings, already with a cough and swollen eyes, he waited almost seven hours in line for the test, in the rain, and returned home without knowing if he was infected.
“It is as if we are working in a field hospital in the middle of a war zone,” an emergency nurse told the newspaper. New York Post. “The newly arrived patients are put in lines at the entrance to the rooms and we don’t have enough beds for them. The equipment is running out faster than the speed at which we were able to replace it. I’ve never seen anything like this. ”
On Tuesday, at least 152 people were in a queue waiting to be tested for the new coronavirus.
In the images, published in newspapers and shared on social networks, we see dozens of people leaning against each other, without a minimum of conditions to maintain a reasonable distance between them, in the rain and exposed to a temperature that varies between 6 and 12 degrees throughout the day.
Inside, some patients have already died in the emergency room while waiting for a place in hospital beds, according to the New York Times. Last week, a man waited 60 hours to be laid on a bed.
“The virus determines deadlines”
And the situation in hospitals like Elmhurst appears to be far from improving in the next few days. Contrary to the incentives for returning to work until Easter, which have left the White House, policymakers in New York say the situation will only get worse in the coming weeks and months.
At a press conference on Wednesday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio advised city dwellers to prepare for the worst in May – several weeks after President Trump’s deadline for reactivating several sectors of the American economy.
In response to the question most often asked these days, about when the situation may return to normal in New York and elsewhere in the world, the American immunologist Anthony Fauci, one of those responsible for combating the new coronavirus in the United States, preferred not to commit to no date.
“We are not the ones who set deadlines. The virus determines the deadlines ”, Fauci said in an interview with CNN on Wednesday night.