By Alexandra Ferragamo, Staff Writer
Central Park’s East Meadow was converted into a field hospital with 68 beds to help New York City battle the number of new coronavirus cases overwhelming its healthcare system.
Central Park, a staple attraction of the Big Apple, along with the 1,800,000-square-foot Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, are being used as makeshift hospitals while the city struggles with a critical shortage of medical facilities and supplies.
The “city that doesn’t sleep” is usually bright and buzzing with people, and some Manhattan natives find the scenes of these famous tourist sites to be somewhat apocalyptic, although helpful in its purpose.
“We are at the point where if you are 18 or older and they cannot revive you in the ambulance, you cannot come to the ER to be revived. This is scary and we need it,” Ashley Damis, a senior broadcasting major, said.
The Central Park site was set up with 14 tents and will receive patients first from Mount Sinai Brooklyn and Mount Sinai Queens hospitals, according to ABC News. The makeshift hospital was constructed with help from the evangelical Christian humanitarian aid organization, Samaritan’s Purse, as the state’s death toll surpassed 1,550.
Construction and staff were provided by Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse, who said in a statement that hospitals are out of beds and medical staff are overwhelmed . The organization is known to provide for those who need aid in the wake of natural disasters such as hurricanes, but is currently doing it’s part to help fight against the virus.
“We just got sent 600 respirators to New York and Governor Cuomo said it will only last us six days until we need more. I think they need to set up treatment centers everywhere necessary,” Damis said.
Actions to build this additional space came after Governor Andrew M. Cuomo declared a state of emergency.
“As a mother, just hearing this news I fear for the families and lives of people I don’t know,” Damis said.