A part of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center will be transformed into a 350-bed temporary hospital as officials in New York struggle to cope up with the surge of COVID-19 cases in New York hospitals. The site hosts the annual U.S.
Open Grand Slam tournament every year. Chris Widmaier, spokesman for the U.S. Tennis Association, commented to Reuters, "We’re here to help – no two ways about it. New York is our home, we’re all in this together”.
New York City Emergency Management (NYCEM) spokesman Omar Bourne commented, “The site is likely to be non-Covid patients, and we will evaluate based on need." He added that New York City is “actively working to identify spaces that can be used to expand hospital capacity throughout the five boroughs." Construction on a 68 bed field hospital in Central Park in New York City has already begun.
New York is one of the worst affected areas by the COVID-19 pandemic and has been described as one of the hotspots in the United States. The tennis season is currently shutdown as well as several countries around the world are in a lockdown mode.
The US Open is scheduled to be held later this year on August 24th. The USTA had earlier stated that they would take a call about making any changes to their tournament dates in consultation with the other tennis bodies, if the current crisis made it difficult to hold the tournament as per schedule.
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