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coronavirus, pandemic, New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo, covid-19, The Cathedral of St. John the Divine
Photograph: Shutterstock

Cathedral of St. John the Divine is being turned into a temporary hospital

By
Howard Halle
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The week so far has yielded some glimmers of hope in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic in New York. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that according to recent tabulations, the rise in new Covid-19 cases and deaths appears to be slowing, suggesting that the outbreak here may be hitting an apex and achieving the long-awaited "flattening of the curve." Also, as the New York Post has reported, Mayor Bill De Blasio announced today that the number of COVID-19 NYC patients requiring ventilators has “improved in recent days.” And in another upbeat sign, it appears that the tiger recently diagnosed with coronavirus at the Bronx Zoo is getting better.

Yet, the news overall remains grim. As of this morning, there are 72,324 reported cases of Covid-19 in the Five Boroughs and 3,202 deaths, a number which exceeds the total fatalities during 9/11. It's no wonder then, that The New York Times is now reporting that The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is being turned into an emergency field hospital.

Following a similar facility which was opened recently in Central Park by the Christian relief organization, Samaritan's Purse, St. John the Divine is setting up nine climate-controlled medical tents that will be able to house up to 200 patients. The tents will be erected in the church's imposing 600-foot long nave with an additional staging area for doctors, nurses and other health-care first responders located in the cathedral’s basement crypt. The staff will come from Mount Sinai Morningside Hospital, located next door.

Patients are expected to arrive by the end of this week or the beginning of next. With any luck, St. John the Divine will be the last NYC landmark repurposed as a hospital, though for now, it's too soon to say.

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