New York metamorphoses in front of COVID-19


(New York) Tents waiting for the sick in Central Park, others erected in front of hospitals, the Manhattan conference center converted into a hospital soon followed by the Flushing Meadows sports center: New York is transformed to be able to treat tens of thousands of patients with coronavirus.

Catherine TRIOMPHE

France Media Agency

A dozen tents erected in Central Park since Sunday were preparing Tuesday to welcome up to 70 sick patients virus from nearby Mount Sinai Hospital.

“We see films like Contagion and we think that it will never happen, so to see that for real, it's really surreal, ”says Joanne Dunbar, 57 years old, who came to attend the transformation of this emblematic place.

After eight days of work by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the Javits Center in Manhattan is now operational, with nearly 3000 beds for patients without coronavirus, to allow hospitals to focus on the epidemic.

A few blocks away, the imposing white silhouette of the Comfort military hospital ship, which arrived on Monday with a capacity of 1000 beds , stands out in the middle of the skyscrapers.

Other sites have been identified across the first American metropolis to serve as a hospital, including one of the buildings of the Flushing Meadows tennis complex, in the Queens district, as well as hotels to be able to isolate people who are infected, but not seriously ill.

The economic capital of the United States and New York State in general, which counted Tuesday in the middle of the day near 76 00 0 cases and 1550 dead, have started a race against the clock to increase their hospital capacity before the peak of the epidemic, expected by “7 to 21 days, “said Governor Andrew Cuomo, who said on Tuesday that his brother, a presenter on CNN , was also infected.

He called on New Yorkers to “calibrate their expectations so as not to be disappointed every day when they wake up, seeing the situation worsen”.

“We have approximately 20 00 0 beds all over New York “under normal circumstances, said Mayor Bill Blasio. “We hope that all will be transformed into intensive care beds for COVID patients – 14 “.

Palpable concern

“New Yorkers are in a difficult situation, and we are trying to do the best to open places to relieve the increase in the number of cases,” said CNN doctor Anthony Fauci, disease expert. infectious who advises Donald Trump on this crisis.

In this metropolis which has never been so deserted and silent, where the evening can now resound, as in many European cities, the applause greeting the nursing staff, the concern is more and more palpable.

Masks are ubiquitous, and buildings have “never been so cleaned,” says Joel Quesada, a cleaning agent at a Manhattan housing complex, where he went from 40 at 55 hours of work per week.

Larry Grossman, director of a supermarket, says he has lost in recent days 14 of its employees 75, “either sick or afraid of coming to work”, despite the protective partitions installed at each box.

If New York is more than ever the epicenter of the epidemic, with more than half of the American cases, all the leading world power now lives in anxiety with 175 00 0 cases listed for 3415 dead, a number of deaths now more important than the official Chinese assessment.

More than three out of four Americans are now under strict confinement. Most major cities are affected, and the outbreaks that have occurred in recent days in Chicago or New Orleans are worsening.

Even rural states, such as Montana, which have very few confirmed cases, claim masks and test kits from the federal government.

Assistant Secretary of Health Brett Giroir confirmed on Tuesday that the United States is currently forced to limit testing to “those who really need it”, namely the seriously ill and the most vulnerable.

The authorities' discourse on the wearing of masks, initially recommended only for people in direct contact with sick people, vulnerable people or people with symptoms themselves, is also evolving.

The White House crisis cell “is actively discussing it,” said Dr Fauci. “As soon as we have enough masks, we will seriously consider broadening its recommendations for use.”