If the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread in the United States as it has in other countries, drastic expansions of hospital and quarantine facility capacity are likely to be necessary. In the hard-hit Seattle area, several temporary facilities are already under construction, including a 200-bed temporary quarantine and isolation center built on a soccer field. China’s response to the initial outbreak in the city of Wuhan demonstrates how rapidly authorities can add capacity in an emergency.
As thousands of citizens became ill with COVID-19, China built two hospitals in Wuhan over the span of just days. Time-lapse videos such as this one show how remarkably quickly the hospitals were built. Construction on the Huoshenshan Hospital (shown in the prior linked video) began on January 23 and finished eight days later. A second hospital, Leishenshan Hospital, began construction on January 25 and finished 12 days later. Square footage information on both hospitals has been inconsistently reported, but Huoshenshan Hospital has a capacity for 1,000 beds, while Leishenshan Hospital has a capacity for 1,600 beds.