As people pretending to have pneumonic plague arrived at Chicago-area hospitals Tuesday, the number of fictitious dead was piling up in the nation’s largest terrorism drill, says the Chicago Tribune. Testing the capacity of hospital and county morgues is one of the more grim parts of the TOPOFF 2 drill this week in Chicago and Seattle.
“This is new for us to test a large number of dead at a hospital,” said Linnea O’Neill, assistant director for the Metropolitan Chicago Health Care Council. “We wanted to test whether they would have the capacity to hold them and work with the coroners.”
The drill, named for the participation of “top officials,” called for nearly 300 people to have died at about 40 Chicago-area hospitals by the end of Tuesday, with perhaps hundreds or thousands more expected by the end of the week.
By comparison, more than 700 people were estimated to have died during a 1995 heat wave in Chicago, including 305 deaths over two days in mid-July.