New York City to convert US Open tennis courts into makeshift hospital for COVID-19 patients

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Apr 01, 2020, 01.39 PM(IST)

The Billie Jean King National Tennis Center Photograph:( AFP )

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The New York stadium complex that hosts the iconic US Open tennis tournament every year is set to be converted into a makeshift hospital as the city of New York like the entire US continues to fight against COVID-19 pandemic. 

The New York stadium complex that hosts the iconic US Open tennis tournament every year is set to be converted into a makeshift hospital as the city of New York like the entire US continues to fight against COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens will be used as an overflow hospital space in a bid to bolster efforts to treat patients amid coronavirus pandemic. The move to convert the New York stadium complex into a hospital comes after the request from the New York City Office of Emergency Management, said Chris Widmaier, US Tennis Association spokesman.

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The Mayor of New York – Bill de Blasio – said that the overflow hospital space will have 350 beds and will admit patients tested positive for COVID-19 but do not require ICU care, starting next week. The conversion will come as a massive relief for all the hospital in New York, which has been the epicenter of COVID-19 outbreak.

“I think the time horizon that’s of deepest concern to New York City is April-May, and thereafter we pray that we start to come out of this, but it won’t be instant,” de Blasio told reporters at the tennis center. “August may be a very, very much better time or we may still be fighting some of these battles. We don’t know yet. By late summer, we may get some good news.”

The Billie Jean King National Tennis Center is one of the largest tennis facilities in the world while being home to Arthur Ashe Stadium, Louis Armstrong Stadium and several other smaller tennis courts.

The Billie Jean King National Tennis Center

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However, there has been no official word on the US Open, scheduled to start in late August as the tournament is still on amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The US death toll rose from 3,008 at 8:30pm EST on Monday to 3,873 at 8.30pm EST on Tuesday. And in New York, at least 1,218 people have died from COVID-19, as of Monday. 

As the death toll in the US rose, President Trump said the nation should be well prepared for a painful couple of weeks.

"This is going to be a very painful, a very, very painful two weeks," Trump said at the White House, adding," "I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead."

"It's absolutely critical for the American people to follow the guidelines for the next 30 days. It's a matter of life and death," the US president added.

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