It’s like in Lombardy, only multiplied by a thousand. Private hospitals are not ready. Tent cities are being erected urgently in parks. “We are the most powerful country in the world, and nurses are protected with garbage bags, “a doctor in the” trenches ” of intensive care is indignant. When doctor D. J. starts a shift in the intensive care unit of her hospital in New York, her hope is always the same: “If only there are no more deaths from the coronavirus today than there were yesterday.” But almost every day this hope turns out to be futile. To speak freely with us, D. J. asked to remain anonymous. We can’t even name the hospital where she works. “There was an order not to give the press any information about what is happening within these walls,” she explains. And” what is happening here”, in addition to the lack of medical masks and the lack of artificial ventilation devices, is very similar to what Italy has already experienced over the past weeks. But only on the enlarged scale of the gigantic new York.
Dr. D. J. tells us all about it in the middle of the night, after one of the killer shifts that has become a regular occurrence for her. She is a middle-aged woman who has lived in New York for a long time. As a doctor in this city, she had seen a lot of things, but she had never seen anything like this before. “Protocols and opening hours are changing in a big hurry, we are all trying to create as many beds as possible to cope with the upcoming peak. But they are not enough, ” she says. The peak, according to forecasts of new York state Governor Andrew Cuomo (Andrew Cuomo), is expected in the period from mid to late April. Then, according to his calculations, hospitals will accept 110 thousand people, of which at least 30 thousand will end up in intensive care units throughout the state. Here is a little to write about Dr. D. J.: the hospital where she works is one of the most important and prestigious in New York.
However, the recent coronavirus crisis also affected her, and it swept over the private intensive care unit like a wave that can not be contained: “in recent weeks, we were most upset that we knew about it, but no one in the management did not listen to us, – says Dr. D. J. “My colleagues and I were ready, but we are too few.” She knows what awaits them: she saw it first in China and then in Italy: “I think it will be much worse here than in Wuhan and Bergamo.” When we Italians see new York outside the walls of overloaded hospitals, there is a deja vu effect-only among skyscrapers. Closed bars and restaurants (by the decision of Governor Cuomo), as well as all museums, theaters on Broadway, libraries and, of course, schools and universities. New Yorkers, on the other hand, at least in part, don’t seem to have yet grasped the gravity of the impending tsunami: you walk through Manhattan and meet people enjoying beautiful spring days in the Park as if nothing is happening — without gloves or masks. Someone goes shopping, someone – to the Bank, not observing a safe distance of two meters, despite the loud calls of state institutions. But if it used to be incredibly difficult to pass a coronavirus test in the city, now test systems are everywhere, and they seem to work: every day thousands of people are tested for free in New York, and in a few hours you can already find out who has a positive result.
The situation has greatly improved after the decisive intervention of Governor Cuomo: “We are literally hunting those who have tested positive for coronavirus,” he says at his daily press conferences in the state capital city of Albany. The strategy is to understand where the infected are and isolate them and their social circle-much like they did in South Korea. So far, however, there are too many doubts about the cost of treatment. Unexpected bills can take patients by surprise. More will be known about this only in a few weeks when insurance companies will send bills for treatment to patients who are in intensive care units and are now fighting for their lives. The American private insurance system is really intricate and complex: the patient, of course, receives treatment, but often does not know whether the policy covers the cost of all the therapy they receive or only part of it. So many people are afraid that when they are cured, they will find thousands of dollars ‘ worth of bills at home. “And the wave of hospitalizations has just begun,” says Dr. D. J. — after Hearing about the experiences of my doctor friends in Italy and Spain, I shared them with colleagues here, and some people thought I was crazy.” And now, at the moment of greatest need, everything is missing in her Department. “We have two huge problems. The first is that health workers don’t have proper protection,” she explains and talks about The case of Kious Kelly, a 48 — year-old nurse who died in a hospital where staff had to use garbage bags to protect themselves. “Do you think it’s normal that the world’s most powerful country doesn’t have enough nurse kits just days before the outbreak of a pandemic crisis?” The second problem is the lack of specialized personnel: “we do not have enough nurses who are able to work correctly with artificial ventilation devices. And the institutions, including the Federal ones, knew about this: we just pretended that this was not the case.”
The fight against the pandemic in the United States has just begun. Anthony Fauci, an immunologist who is considered to have the greatest authority in the United States in this area, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases), predicted from 100 to 200 thousand victims in the period from now to the summer. Trump confirmed that “if the victims will be less than 100 thousand, then we have done a good job.” Italian geneticist Antonio Giordano, who has been working in Philadelphia since 1992 and author of more than 400 scientific publications, offers his comment to our publication: “it is very difficult to give a more accurate forecast because we do not have enough data at our disposal for realistic estimates of the risk of spread. The current “travel ban” is not enough, and social distancing practices that could help limit the spread of the virus are not being properly applied in the United States today. The US is simply too big a country, and people move easily. This is a country where people, even in this time of crisis, do not stop moving from state to state, covering significant distances. So they spread the virus in different zones and with different frequencies.” The consequences are already becoming obvious. In the state of Illinois, a couple of weeks ago, The youngest covid victim was registered-19-a child who was not yet a year old.
In Louisiana, 33-year-old April Dunn (April Dunn), an employee of the staff of Governor John Bel Edwards (John Bel Edwards), passed away after complications of coronavirus. And the state capital of New Orleans, along with Detroit and Chicago, is becoming the new epicenter of the infection. The virus is spreading rapidly, and Florida and Texas are no exception. Nurse Jackie Salon (Jackie Salon), a Californian who lives in Austin, tells about this terrible waiting: “At the moment, we have only a few cases in the intensive care unit, but the tension has grown to an extreme level: if this situation has occurred in New York, where the best hospitals are located, then things can be much worse here.” And the problems are the same in Connecticut and New Jersey, where an Italian surgeon from a well-known hospital on the border with New York utters a classic phrase that we have heard many times in Lombardy: “We are going through a crash.” He, too, like D. J., prefers to remain anonymous: “I Am not on the front line, because my role is not related to the crisis, but already I do not get the masks that I usually have for operations: everything is given to colleagues who are engaged in the treatment of the virus,” he says.
“Many of my colleagues in the Department are in quarantine, and the nurses have to cope with this emergency without the necessary protection,” he adds. – Connecting a person to a ventilator is not a joke or a child’s toy: the patient is aware of what is happening, in the process, he can easily move, cough, his saliva can get on the medical staff.” Without proper protection, ” medical personnel are completely elementary infected with the virus.”Here’s what Sumiyah Gordon, a 31-year-old nurse, and graduate of Columbia University, told us: “The number of patients admitted in recent days has increased, and we are already noticing a shortage of everything. There are not enough masks #95, we often take patients without gloves.” Nurses like her don’t work in the intensive care unit, but they do other important work. They care about the most vulnerable and exposed to a coronavirus, part of the population — the homeless. “More and more homeless people come here with fever and cough. If their test results are positive, we transport them to the Covid shelter, a specially created shelter in new York state.” The two main shelters are located in Brooklyn and the Bronx, and the growing number of cases already poses a difficult challenge, because capacity is limited. Often there are no more places, and many homeless people have to go back to where they came from and continue spreading the virus.
“This is the most reliable plan at our disposal,” Sumia says, “but there is a risk that it is not enough, if only because it is almost impossible to track the movements of all homeless people with a positive test result.” The class difference is palpable even among those who don’t have a home. In a recent study conducted by the United hospital Fund Neighborhood of New York, it was found that, as a percentage, the largest number of people who tested positive for coronavirus live in poorer and more densely populated neighborhoods of the city. If in the Upper Eastside and Upper West side of Manhattan (or in Park slope in Brooklyn), the number of positive results is from 40 to 50% of those who were analyzed, then in places such as high bridge and Mott Haven in the Bronx, Western Queens and Jamaica in Queens, and East Flatbush in Brooklyn, the number of positive results is from 68 to 86%. Despite the fact that the state of New York has demonstrated the existence of a plan, the number of deaths continues to grow, and the noise of sirens is more and more often heard on the city’s Avenue. Last Sunday, the entire city was shocked by a photo taken by a nurse at a New York hospital: in a truck in front of the hospital — the bodies of people who died from Covid in the previous hours. In a city that was once called the Big Apple because of the number of tourists, there will be more and more of these trucks in the coming weeks.