As the COVID-19 death toll continues to climb in New York City, Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital has constructed a makeshift morgue, Business Insider reports. Comprising of large tents and refrigerated trucks, the morgue was built to help cope with thousands of dead bodies in the case that the city's preexisting morgues become filled to capacity. Though that hasn't happened yet, city officials have started to prepare for the worst case scenario, as New York has emerged as one of the epicenters of the virus.
Between Tuesday and Wednesday, 88 people in NYC died from the coronavirus, adding to the already sizable figure of 192. There are over 20,000 confirmed cases of the virus and 280 deaths in the city, but Mayor Bill de Blasio has warned that figure is expected to rise significantly.
The morgue was built with assistance from the US Army and Air Force, but it has not been put into use yet. "On Sunday the morgues already seemed full," one mortuary professional told BI. "You have to wait for the tests to come back before making the removal for our safety... The death toll from COVID currently is much higher than it is in the news."
Mayor de Blasio's comments on Wednesday were equally bleak.
"It’s a fair bet to say that half of all New Yorkers, and maybe more than half, will end up contracting this disease," de Blasio said on Wednesday. "And that’s worrisome, very deeply worrisome, for all of us, but we have to start with the truth. ... I know the morgues push a really strong emotional button, obviously. We’re all humans. It’s a very troubling thing to see, and it makes it very immediate, very visceral. It's going to be very, very painful."