By Stephanie Stahl


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Desperate scenes continue to emerge from the New York City area, where one hospital now has a truck being used as a makeshift morgue. There were renewed warnings Thursday in Philadelphia about our close proximity and people in our area from New York are again being advised to self-quarantine.

Seeing desperate scenes from New York makes many wonder if it could happen here, but no one knows.

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There are a variety of models tracking the coronavirus, with some more positive, but one from Penn predicts a tsunami that could be similar to what’s happening in New York.

The growing number of coronavirus cases in New York City is overwhelming hospitals.

“People come in. They get intubated. They die,” said Dr. Steve Kasspidis, an ICU physician at Mount Sinai Hospital in Queens.

Elmhurst Hospital in Queens had 13 deaths in just 24 hours.

New York City accounts for roughly half of all coronavirus cases in the country.

“We don’t want Philadelphia to be the next major city in that situation,” Mayor Jim Kenney said.

Philadelphia officials hoping to avoid the catastrophe happening in New York are instructing visitors from New York to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley says while hospitals are busy, they aren’t overwhelmed right now.

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The dean at Penn Medicine says their modeling shows a tsunami coming, predicting it to hit Philadelphia in mid-May. He said that would include 1,000 patients on ventilators across the Penn Medicine health system.

“It’s one of many models that’s out there to predict what’s going to happen. All those models do predict we will have an epidemic wave, but the most important thing we can do to slow that epidemic wave is the social distancing we’re doing right now,” Farley said.

A statement from Penn Medicine says, in part, it continues to take aggressive measures to ensure the safety and protection of patients and staff during the COVID-19 outbreak.

(credit: CBS3)

Regarding reports that staff have been infected, it says they’re placed in quarantine and instructed to adhere to all CDC precautions.

CBS3 asked to interview the Penn dean and were told he wasn’t available today.

Local and state health officials say they are in the process of planning for a surge of patients, which includes identifying additional hospital beds and equipment for hospital systems throughout the region.

They add we might get lucky if people stay home.

Stephanie Stahl