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Construction at the COVID-19 field hospital at McCormick Place in Chicago on April 10. The city pared back plans for a 3,000-bed temporary hospital at the nation’s largest convention center as infection numbers decreased. Nam Y. Huh/AP hide caption

toggle caption Nam Y. Huh/AP

As hospitals were overrun by coronavirus patients in other parts of the world, the Army Corps of Engineers mobilized in the U.S., hiring private contractors to build emergency field hospitals around the country.

The endeavor cost more than $660 million, according to an NPR analysis of federal spending records.

But nearly four months into the pandemic, most of these facilities haven’t treated a single patient.

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Public health

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