‘We’re at war’: Daunting photos from Covid-19 hotspot

Olivia Lambert
·News Editor
·5-min read

Funeral homes are overfilling with coffins, cars are in gridlock awaiting testing at sports stadiums and the reality of Covid-19 remains grim and deadly in the United States.

Disturbing images are continuing to emerge from the hotspot, showing the real and devastating impact the virus is inflicting on the country.

One shows dozens of coffins piled up in a break room at the Continental Funeral Home in Los Angeles as it struggles to keep up with the demands of rising death rates.

Another shows hundreds of vehicles lined up at a testing site at Dodger Stadium as 33 million residents of California enter lockdown.

As the virus also takes hold of the US economy, other photos show white plates scattered on the East Lawn of the Capitol in Washington, marked with the names and stories of restaurant workers who have lost their jobs or are in fear of being stood down.

 A break room is filled with bodies inside caskets at Continental Funeral Home.
The Continental Funeral Home struggles to keep up with the demands of rising death rates due to Covid-19. Source: Getty

As the pandemic continues to ravage the United States about a year after the virus emerged from Wuhan in China, health experts fear what could be a deadly winter.

California alone reported more than 30,000 new cases on Sunday (local time), exceeding its previous high of 21,986 on Friday, and notched a record high for hospitalised Covid-19 patients as well.

Covid-19 infections across the country are at their peak with an average of 193,863 new cases reported each day over the past week, according to a Reuters tally of official data.

There have been 14.7 million confirmed infections and more than 282,000 coronavirus-related deaths in the United States since the start of the pandemic – the most in the world – but the worst could be yet to come.

‘We’re at war’: Health expert’s dire Covid warning

Chief executive of the El Centro Regional Medical Centre in Southern California, Dr Adolphe Edward, told CNN the hospital had just two beds left in its intensive care unit.

In the car park a second field hospital is being built, but it can only provide an extra 50 beds.

“I might really be back in a war zone,” he told the publication.

“We’re at war against Covid.”

Hundreds of cars line at a Dodger Stadium for testing.
Hundreds of cars await testing at Dodger Stadium as California enters lockdown. Source: Getty Images

Director of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr Robert Redfield, warned about what could be disastrous months ahead.

“The reality is, December and January are going to be rough times,” he said.

“I actually believe they’re going to be the most difficult in the public health history of this nation, largely because of the stress that’s going to put on our health care system.”

Nurses reveal startling reality of Covid

As the US health system is overrun by Covid-19, nurses have revealed the enormous pressure they are under ahead of a potential surge in the virus this winter.

New York nurse Kathy Santoiemma told News12 Westchester the desperate need for health workers was contributing to a crippling system.

“Right now, we have less staff than we had in the spring... when Covid started,” she said.

“So we’re not even worried – we’re terrified.”

Mary Jones, a nurse in the US state of Kansas, told news station KWCH she had seen more patients die in the last couple of months than the entire past decade.

“Two to three weeks we’re just going to be swamped,” she said.

“There are days that you go home and you’re just not sure you’re going to come back, days you get here and find out someone you were taking care of two days ago is gone.”

UN International Day of Epidemic Preparedness

A year into a global battle against the coronavirus, the United Nations General Assembly on Monday declared December 27 will be the "International Day of Epidemic Preparedness" in a bid to ensure lessons are learned for any future health crises.

The COVID-19 virus emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year and spread globally, so far infecting more than 66 million people and killing some 1.5 million.

Plates marked with the names and stories of restaurant workers scatter the East Lawn of the Capitol in Washington.
Restaurant workers scatter plates across the East Lawn at the Capitol to show the impact Covid-19 is having on the hospitality industry. Source: Getty Images

The World Health Organisation (WHO) called it a pandemic in March, a declaration that the US and others said came too late.

The 193-member General Assembly adopted a resolution by consensus on Monday that recognises the need "to raise the level of preparedness in order to have the earliest and most adequate response to any epidemic that may arise”.

However International Crisis Group UN director Richard Gowan described the symbolic move as an attempt by the General Assembly to appear relevant as "a lot of smaller and poorer states worry that they won't have any part in real decisions about the coronavirus vaccine or recovery”.

"Given that the General Assembly has previously declared international days devoted to chess, yoga and toilets it only seems fair that epidemics should have their day too," he said.

The UN resolution stresses the importance of international cooperation and multilateralism.

"The pandemic caught us off guard, but it also has served as a wake-up call for improving our preparedness," Vietnam's UN Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy said as he introduced the resolution.

"We believe that observing an International Day on Epidemic Preparedness will be a prominent way to achieve this goal."

with Reuters

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