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Covid 19 coronavirus: Overwhelmed US hospital treating Covid patients in car park

A US hospital stretched to breaking point by the Covid-19 crisis has resorted to treating sick patients in a car park, proving just how serious the emergency has become.

So far, the US has recorded 15,089,621 virus cases and 285,643 deaths – figures that are much worse than those seen in hard-hit developing nations like India and Brazil.

There has been a 24 per cent increase in new cases across America in the past week alone, and the average daily death toll has soared to 2200.

But a series of viral photos of Renown Regional Medical Centre in Reno, Nevada, has truly brought home the extent of the disaster, after the hospital was forced to convert two floors of its car park to a makeshift treatment site to keep up with the influx of Covid patients.

A photo of the improvised facility was first shared on Twitter by ICU doctor Jacob Keeperman in November, when he revealed there had been “five deaths in the last 32 hours”.

The post went viral – but, predictably, some accused the photo of being fake, with US President Donald Trump himself retweeting one of those allegations.

Dr Keeperman later told CNN he was “disgusted” by the false accusation shared by Trump and urged government officials and all Americans to take the “humanitarian crisis” seriously.

“Things are tough. People are sick. People from all walks of life, of all ages, are getting afflicted by Covid-19,” he said.

“We are getting close to a breaking point.”

In fact, in the past three weeks, the site has treated 265 patients as cases continue to surge in the wake of the Thanksgiving holiday, and a new investigation by CBS News has also laid bare the extent of the hospital’s “crisis mode”, as have a series of new photos taken inside the centre.

“Nobody who has gone into medicine ever thought they would be providing care in a parking garage,” Keeperman told CBS this week.

“Would any hospital want to show that they are operating out of a parking garage if it wasn’t real? People’s loved ones are dying every day.”

And nursing manager Janet Baum also told CBS she had never before seen anything like the current devastation.

“Never in my wildest nightmares would I ever have thought that we would ever see something that would be killing this many people,” she said.

While the Renown facility might seem like an extreme example, experts have warned the coronavirus disaster will only get worse in the weeks ahead as temperatures plummet and Americans gather over the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

Dr David Thrasher, a pulmonologist and friend of former Alabama state senator Larry Dixon who died from coronavirus last week, told AP the next four months would bring “more devastation and catastrophic problems with public health” than had been seen since 1918.

Infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci recently warned the coming weeks would likely bring “a surge upon a surge” of new cases.

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