Elevator companies are on the brink of collapse as a result of a deadly coronavirus outbreak that has hit the industry hard, with more than 8,500 fatalities and hundreds of thousands of injuries reported across the United States.
The National Elevator Safety Board announced late Monday that the total number of fatalities among the elevators operating in the United Kingdom and Canada reached 8,737, with another 1,200 confirmed.
That’s more than double the number of deaths reported last year, which was nearly 4,000.
The deaths are expected to rise.
The International Association of Elevator Manufacturers said Monday that it expects to see “an additional 10,000 to 15,000 additional fatalities or injuries” as a direct result of the coronaviruses.
In a statement, the International Association said it is committed to making the safety of its customers and customers’ families as safe as possible, including ensuring that any affected elevators are removed from service and that all elevators remain equipped to prevent and contain elevator sickness.
In addition, the association is providing $1 million to fund research to help coronavirents understand how elevators and other infrastructure can prevent the spread of coronaviral illnesses.
The outbreak, which began in late March, has forced the closure of nearly 20 percent of the nation’s elevators.
The CDC has said that a total of 5,726 people have been hospitalized and more than 1,300 have died as a consequence of the virus.
It’s also put the industry under unprecedented stress, as workers who work in elevators in the U.S. are being told to wear masks or face being asked to evacuate their elevators as a precaution.
A recent New York Times article said that the number working in elevations at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art had fallen from 1,500 to 300 since the outbreak began.