Enlarge /. NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 25: The Statue of Liberty is seen behind refrigerated trucks that act as temporary morgues at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal during the coronavirus pandemic.
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Texas and Arizona officials have asked refrigerators to detain the dead as hospitals and morgues are overwhelmed by victims of the angry COVID-19 pandemic.
"There are only so many places in the hospital where corpses can be stored," said Ken Davis, chief medical officer of the Christ Santa Rosa health system in the San Antonio region, in a briefing earlier this week. "We have no more space and our funeral directors have no more space and we need these beds. So if someone dies, we have to turn the bed over quickly.
"It's difficult to talk about," added Davis. "People's loved ones die."
Overall, there has been an increase in hospitalizations and deaths among people infected with the coronavirus in Texas – and reports of new infections are still increasing. On Wednesday alone, the state reported 10,791 new cases, which corresponds to a total of over 282,000 cases. The state has reported over 3,400 deaths so far.
Several other areas of the state have ordered, bought, or searched refrigerated trucks or trailers to hold bodies. According to The Texas Tribune, this includes the counties Nueces, Cameron, Travis, Hidalgo and Harris as well as the city of Austin.
The picture doesn't look much better in Arizona, where hospital stays and deaths are also increasing. The state, which has counted over 134,000 cases and 2,492 deaths, has reached a bed capacity of 90 percent for intensive care adults. The Mayor of Phoenix said late last week that the city was working to secure refrigerated trucks.
A similar scenario could occur in Florida, where record numbers of cases and deaths are also reported. In the past few days, the state had record highs with over 15,300 cases on July 12 and 156 deaths today. According to the agency for the administration of health care, around 50 state hospitals no longer have beds for adults in their intensive care units.
The grim reality reflects the high point of the outbreak in the New York City region earlier this year, which was marked by dozens of refrigerated trucks, some of which were parked outside of hospitals. In April, a Manhattan-based emergency doctor feared that if our national response to the pandemic did not improve, the trucks would become a lasting image. “Every disaster has its images, its symbols. With COVID-19, it may just be the refrigerator truck. It is our mortuary where the patients are whom we could not save. "
To date, the United States has reported more than 3.5 million cases and 138,000 deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic – more cases and deaths than any other country. The nationwide number of daily cases and hospitalizations is currently increasing.