Coronavirus has now killed more than 1,000 people in the US. But health officials say the peak is yet to come
While the US death toll from coronavirus has now topped 1,000, exhausted hospital workers are turning to increasingly desperate measures to combat the virus.
New York Bellevue Hospital Center created a makeshift morgue using tents and refrigerated trucks. At Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens, 13 patients died from coronavirus within 24 hours.
In California, the number of cases is doubling every three to four days. And in Louisiana, where health care workers are making masks out of office supplies, hospitals are expected to run out of beds within two weeks.
If more beds don't become available, "then we don't have resources to save the lives that we need to save," former Louisiana Secretary of Health Dr. Rebekah Gee said. "That's why these stay-at-home orders are so important."
As of Thursday, more than 65,000 Americans have been infected with the novel coronavirus, and at least 1,046 have died.
The highest number of deaths reported in a single day came Wednesday, with 223 deaths.
But "we have not seen the peak of the crisis yet," Gee said.
Desperate for protective face masks, Gee said health care workers have been punching holes in plastic office report covers and running string through those holes.
"I think what's just as concerning is the fact that we need more ventilators," she said. "And that is something that the federal government needs to step in and fix."
Many have called for President Donald Trump to use the Defense Production Act to speed up the availability of critical health equipment.
This week, Trump and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) gave conflicting information about whether the Act was being used.
While states scramble for resources, the virus keeps spreading unabated across the country.
"I'm sure that this virus is just about everywhere," said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
"But how dense it is, how widespread it is -- we don't know yet. We haven't tested sufficiently," he said. "If we could test a lot more, we would have a much better idea of how distributed this virus is."