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Hospital ships and makeshift morgues: New York prepares for coronavirus peak

The USNS Comfort docks in New York on Monday, March 30, 2020.
The USNS Comfort docks in New York on Monday, March 30, 2020. © Reuters / France 24

The US Navy hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, docked in New York Monday, while emergency care facilities and even a makeshift morgue have been set up around the city as it struggles to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

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The ship, which set sail from Virginia on Saturday, has space for 1,000 beds and twelve operating rooms.

It will treat those requiring intensive care unrelated to the coronavirus to free up much-needed space in the city’s hospitals for COVID-19 patients.  

New York is at the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in the US with more than 33,000 confirmed cases.

Of more than 2,500 deaths in the country, nearly 800 have been in New York and the city is expecting a peak in cases in the next few weeks.

A number of other sites are also being turned into temporary hospitals, including a field hospital in Central Park with capacity for 68 patients. 

Meanwhile, one of the city’s major hospitals has set up a makeshift morgue to deal with the expected spike in deaths, and refrigerated trucks have been sent to the city to temporarily store the bodies of the deceased.

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