Jan. 22: “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. We have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.” — Trump in a CNBC interview.
From “NYC’s 911 System Is Overwhelmed. ‘I’m Terrified,’ a Paramedic Says,” The New York Times, March 28, 2020.
“It’s all a war zone,” one of the paramedics said.
Days later, another paramedic, Phil Suarez, was dispatched to two homes in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood, where entire families, living in cramped apartments, appeared to be stricken with the virus.
“I’m terrified,” said Mr. Suarez, who has been a paramedic in New York City for 26 years and had assisted in rescue efforts during the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and later served in the Iraq war. “I honestly don’t know if I’m going to survive. I’m terrified of what I’ve already possibly brought home.”
Even as hospitals across New York become inundated with coronavirus cases, some patients are being left behind in their homes because the health care system cannot handle them all, according to dozens of interviews with paramedics, New York Fire Department officials and union representatives, as well as city data.
In a matter of days, the city’s 911 system has been overwhelmed by calls for medical distress apparently related to the virus. Typically, the system sees about 4,000 Emergency Medical Services calls a day.
On Thursday, dispatchers took more than 7,000 calls — a volume not seen since the Sept. 11 attacks. The record for amount of calls in a day was broken three times in the last week.
It’s believed that the crisis will peak within two to three weeks.
I asked my brother tonight what things were like at the hospital, but he declined to discuss it with me. “I have to tune it out when I’m off duty,” he said, “or else I won’t have the mental resources I need when I’m back on.”
Sounds like he’s got it under control. Sounds like it’s going to be just fine.