NEW YORK | More than 23,000 confirmed cases, 365 deaths : in New York, the epicenter of the sars coronavirus in the United States, hospitals are under pressure, but still manage to cope.
At the beginning of the crisis, as a respiratory therapist in a large hospital in the district of Queens, Long Island Jewish Medical Center, regarded mostly get patients who are already fragile, the more often older.
“But these last two weeks, I have in their fifties, in their forties, in their thirties, who have not listened when told not to go out, protect themselves, and wash their hands,” he said, preferring anonymity.
According to figures released Thursday, 44 % of patients in New York were between 18 and 44 years of age, even if they represent only 4 % of deaths.
“There are people who are probably in much better physical shape than me,” notes the therapist. “They go to the gym, they eat healthy. And all of a sudden, they become sick. See someone in their thirties to die, it’s hard.”
At pace, the hospitals of the first american metropolis are filled with patients that should be treated with precautions endless.
“You have entire floors that pass by COVID in one night,” says an administrative employee of this hospital, that was his name, because the facility is not permitted to speak to the press.
“They isolate everything and basta,” he said. “All the world is in its own bubble individual, and the people who care for them are all harnessed.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered that the hospitals of the State of New York to increase their capacity by 50 %, or even doubling it, if possible.
“We are in the cleat,” explains Tim Peal, a nurse at Mount Sinai hospital, Morningside, near Columbia university in Manhattan. “We’re going to need to turn rooms in intensive care units.”
“They open up additional floors for the patients in isolation,” echoed Priscilla Carate, a nurse from the same hospital.
All in all, the equipment necessary to care staff – masks, gloves, aprons, are available in sufficient number, indicate the health professionals interviewed, despite a few shortages at the time.
The result, artificial respirators are on them are also quite many for the moment, and the doctors have not, as is the case elsewhere in the world, to choose to sometimes patients to save.
But this does not prevent the dead to accumulate.
“There has been a lot of deaths, most from cardiac arrest,” said a nurse from Mount Sinai hospital, Morningside, under the cover of anonymity. “It gets hard.”
Detection capacity, another priority, has almost quadrupled in a week, and are now 18 650 tests per day, said on Thursday Andrew Cuomo.
On Wednesday, the New York Times published photos of a long queue in front of the Elmhurst Hospital Center, hospital of Queens, where some waited for hours to submit to the test.
Thursday morning, they were still fifty to wait. But in the afternoon, almost more person, to the point that Elsaid Bitter, who was driving, stopped to be tested under the tent erected, especially in front of this hospital.
“I have nothing”, he said, no symptom or person identified as sick in his own entourage, “but I wanted to be sure I was good.”
He will have his answer in two or three days, he was told by the nurses. The test will be taken five minutes.
In front of the hospital near the indian district of Jackson Heights, where 17 people died of the epidemic in recent days, an ice cream truck passes by playing his famous music is supposed to attract children, in a surreal scene.
New York is caulking. Nearly half of the passers-by wearing masks in the street, but there are always tennis players on the courts of Central Park, some land in Queens where they still play football, and the mayor had to order the removal of 80 circles in public gardens to bring basketball players to the reason.
The governor and the mayor, Bill de Blasio, has warned, the peak of the pandemic in New York is unlikely to take place before two to three weeks.
“It’s probably going to get worse,” confirms a doctor at the Mount Sinai Morningside, under the cover of anonymity. “I am very tired.”
In services, the nervousness is palpable. “A lot of people are afraid to be next to each other,” notes Priscilla Carate.
Not it. “I signed up to be in health,” she said. “I’m ready”.
“This is not the time to abandon our patients,” says the respiratory therapist, who turns now to 60 hours per week, compared to 36 usually. “They need us.”