New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is weighing setting up the Javits Center in Manhattan as an emergency field hospital “out of an abundance of caution,” NBC New York reported on Wednesday.
New York State is grappling with a surge of coronavirus infections and hospitalizations, with nearly 8,000 people hospitalized, the most since May. Total hospitalizations are up 32%, deaths are up 36% over the last few weeks, and the state is expected to record 30,000 deaths from the virus as more than a hundred people have died daily for the past 14 days.
The surge shows no sign of abating, between the millions of people traveling in December and a highly infectious strain from the U.K. possibly circulating in the United States.
The variant strain of the coronavirus is estimated to be up to 70% more infectious, and was reported Tuesday to be found in a young man in Colorado who had not recently traveled.
Cuomo has repeatedly stressed the need to ensure the hospitals are not overwhelmed with patients, and has ordered all hospitals in the state to be prepared to balance the load by sending patients from overwhelmed hospitals to those with beds available.
During the early months of the pandemic, the state scrambled for ICU beds, and set up field hospitals on park lawns and in the Javits Center. However, the Javits Center saw few patients.