COVID-19: New York's Plea For Help
New York City (NYC) is the U.S. city hit the hardest by the novel coronavirus thus far into the pandemic. On March 7, the governor of NY, Governor Cuomo, declared New York state to be in a state of emergency. The state reported 66,497 positive COVID-19 cases as of March 30th, 2020 with over 1,300 related deaths. Over 37,000 of New York state's coronavirus cases are located in New York City. The city has reported a total of 914 COVID related deaths.
New York is struggling to keep up with the growing number of cases and Governor Cuomo is pleading for help. Cuomo implores "Please come help us in New York now. We need relief." He warns that New York City will not be alone in their massive number of coronavirus cases and deaths. Cuomo warns that the virus will work its way across the country and eventually every U.S. city will be a coronavirus battle field with healthcare professionals unable to keep up with the number of dying.
Since his plea for help, over 40,000 healthcare workers have volunteered to assist in New York City. Among the volunteers are many retirees and students. Over 6,000 mental health professionals are also offering online help. The most notable assistance, however, is the U.S. Navy Hospital Ship which has made port in the New York City harbor.
The hospital ship arrived in port on March 30th, 2020. It is equipped with over 1,000 beds to help alleviate the healthcare system in New York. The ship is also equipped with over a dozen operating rooms. The hospital ship is to be used for non-COVID-19 patients such that space in the hospitals is freed up for infected patients. The boat, the USNS Comfort, has seen the New York City harbor once before. The ship was sent to NYC during the 9/11 catastrophe. The USNS Comfort is often called upon to deliver humanitarian aid, so it is no surprise that it is docked in the biggest coronavirus hot spot in the United States.
Similar to the USNS Comfort, the USNS Mercy is docked in Los Angeles and is treating people during this crisis. The USNS Mercy accepted its first patients March 29. The ship took referrals from local hospitals.
New York City is also creating makeshift hospitals in areas like Central Park and in convention centers. The east meadow of Central Park has been converted into a 68 bed field hospital as of Sunday, March 29, 2020. This area was designed to be a respiratory care unit. The Army Corps of Engineers also converted Manhattan's Javits Convention Center into a makeshift field hospital. The area in the convention center has over 1,000 hospital beds.
These actions provide just a glimpse of the enormous amounts of people contracting the coronavirus and furthermore the amount of people requiring hospitalization due to the severity of the illness. NYC is using every possible method to treat the people in need, but for many, everything has not proven enough.