The New York Times
The New York Times 14 Apr 2020

"I could see the fear in his eyes." What Battling Coronavirus Looks Like


Nicholas Kristof visits two New York City hospitals and witnesses the heavy toll on medical workers fighting to keep Americans alive.

Former St. Louis Cardinals Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman join Dan Shulman and talk about the craziest storm they've ever played in, their animosity towards the Milwaukee Brewers, and the 2011 season leading into the iconic World Series Game 6 against the Texas Rangers.

Coronavirus risks, missing ballots, nullified ballots, and more deeply impacted the recent Wisconsin election, which voting rights expert Ari Berman calls the 'one of the worst in history' in terms of likely mass disenfranchisement.

Some famous landmarks in New York were lit red, white and blue Thursday night in recognition of the nationwide effort against COVID-19. New York is the epicenter of the pandemic sweeping across the United States.
- - - - - - - - -
Located next to Brazil's largest stadium, more than 50 people have died at the field hospital in two weeks.

… show captions ↓
Stretchers, row after row, comatose
patients in isolation rooms.
Every surface is dangerous and so
is the air, especially during an intubation.
“Every day, you're thinking, am I going to get really sick?
Am I going to recover? Am I going to be
one of those young people that, for whatever reason,
dies from this?”
The history of this pandemic
will be remembered not for briefings at the White House.
But for the heartache in the hot zone.
We journalists haven't been able to cover
coronavirus the way we normally cover wars
from the front lines.
“Good morning.” “Good morning.”
But I was able to spend two days inside two hard-hit
hospitals in the Bronx.
To witness the toll on frontline workers trying
to keep Americans alive.
“So we're entering a Covid area.
And so everybody who goes in wears these protective gowns.
And this gentleman is helping me get it on correctly.”
Because I don't know what I'm doing.
“I'm the P.P.E. monitor.”
“They're pulling out another one.”
“Find that patient now.”
“We need the patient to go upstairs please.”
Dr. Deborah White reminds me of a general commanding
a battlefield.
“I mean, this is what we train for.
This is the moment in our career
because it's a once in a lifetime thing.”
She's trying to save lives,
“Yeah, for upstairs, for upstairs.”
while also keeping up morale.
On this day almost 800 New Yorkers died.
“Many of the people here are clearly
in their 70s or 80s, but they're also,
I'm struck that there are a lot
of young and middle aged adults here.”
“Yeah, absolutely.”
“We range from 26 all the way up to 59.”
She's constantly counting beds keeping
track of every patient.
“We're just rounding want to know how
you're feeling.”
“Sometimes, you know, that human interaction
helps them. So the bus is here?
Oh so let's go upstairs quickly because
the M.E.T.U. bus is here.
Let's walk rapidly.”
Dr. White has a problem. Too many patients, not enough
beds. Unless they make room,
more people will die.
“This is a medical evacuation bus
to take people from this hospital
to make some space here.
The bus is unlike any bus you've ever seen.
It has oxygen. It has E.M.T. people there
to support the patients
as they make that ride.”
But as this bus frantically shuttles overflow
to a nearby hospital, new patients continue to pour in.
The red phone rings constantly
signaling the arrival of yet another critical patient.
So many that there is a traffic jam
of stretchers leading to a small army of doctors
and nurses.
They are about to attempt a last desperate step.
An intubation.
“I need a vent. I need a vent.”
“I need a ventilator.”
“So what we're going to do is intubate her right
now to support her oxygen level so that we can
improve the oxygen exchange.”
This procedure spews virus into the air leaving staff
at enormous risk as they try to save the patient's life.
“Take some deep breaths.
You're okay.”
“She's attached to the vent.”
While intubated patients can't speak
and what everybody knows is that they probably will never
speak again. Ventilators may be lifesaving
but most patients still die.
Death here has no dignity.
Patients can't have visitors.
They're scared. They can't even see their nurse's eyes.
I've reported on lots of deaths in my career.
And this feels particularly brutal.
“Someone codes, someones dies. You go onto the next patient.
Someone codes, someone dies, you got onto the next patient.
And you don't have time to process those emotions before you
go home. I like, I have cried just, at home thinking about it all.
Or just, when you get home, you finally take a breather
and that's when you let it all out.
Because you don't have time to process those emotions here.”
These doctors and nurses are risking their lives
and we're failing them.
Some told me of their deep frustration
with the government's response.
We catastrophically bungled testing.
The president dithered.
Americans kept on partying.
The result, thousands of needless deaths.
“I was in the Intensive Care Unit,
the second patient who came in was tested positive,
was a 27-year-old.
I'm 29 right now. I'm just as
healthy as this patient.
It just often times feels like a roll of the dice.”
“I spent twelve hours
by his bedside with all my P.P.E. on.
He would grab my hand and I just kept telling him
everything is going to be okay, that we're doing the best we could,
but I could see the fear in his eyes.
It was heartbreaking.
Because this is still so new to us that we're just doing what we can
and we don't know what's going to happen.”
As I see it, the triumph here lies
in the courage and humanity of the health workers.
This may not be enough to defeat the virus,
but it's magnificent to witness.

Share Video:

Embed Video: