'Survival mode': Harrowing message from medical workers in coronavirus epicentre

Medical staff facing a deluge of coronavirus patients in New York City, have shared harrowing posts on social media as the state’s death toll surges beyond 1000.

New York has the seventh highest COVID-19 death toll in the world and the iconic city has become the country’s epicentre of the deadly virus spread, with the state racking up more than 60,000 cases and 1,000 deaths as of Monday.

Those working in hospitals – on the frontline of the emerging catastrophe – have shared harrowing posts detailing their experiences as the city braces for the worst.

People walk in Brooklyn while lower Manhattan looms in the background, more than 1000 people have died of COVID-19 in the city. Source: Getty Images

Internal Medicine Resident in New York City, Prakriti Gaba tweeted about how in just one night she treated 20 patients in the ICU, all of whom needed breathing machines, including those in their 20s.

“We are REALLY feeling the strain,” she tweeted.

“We don’t have enough ICU beds. Many patients are being intubated as soon as they show up to the Emergency Room. We are doing our best to take care of them on regular floor beds and in the ER itself. But it is HARD.”

New York healthcare system ‘in survival mode’

Ms Gaba went on to say some COVID-19 patients need dialysis, but there aren’t enough machines and staff are having to ration care – something she never expected to see.

“Hospital staff are exhausted and honestly – scared,” she said.

“Our healthcare system is in survival mode.”

Not only is Ms Gaba tending to sick patients, but she is also having “heartbreaking” discussions with family members of confirmed cases.

“No part of me was prepared to convey that a family member can’t say goodbye,” she wrote.

“That their loved one would have to be alone during their final moments.

“I cannot imagine how they feel... how painful it is...”

Anna Podolanczuk a Pulmonologist in New York City shared a string of tweets proving that it’s not just those aged over 70 who are needing urgent and serious medical care.

“I told a 28 year old that he needs intubation. He was scared. Couldn’t breathe,” she tweeted.

“I told the wife of a 47 year old that he is dying over FaceTime.

“I broached a #COVID19 patient who mucous plugged. It saved his life. Risked mine.”

For Ms Podolanczuk, that was just a day’s work.

In another tweet she said she walked through the empty streets of New York City, which are usually bustling.

She had dinner with her family for the first time in a week, all the time hoping she won’t make them sick.

“This is our new normal,” she tweeted. “NYC we will get through this.

Ambulances busier than on September 11, 2001

Paediatric Surgery fellow in New York City and mother, Cornelia Griggs shared a photo to Twitter of her suited up in protective gear as she deal with the influx of coronavirus patients.

“My babies are too young to read this now,” she tweeted.

“And they’d barely recognise me in my gear. But if they lose me to COVID I want them to know Mommy tried really hard to do her job.”

In New York City, ambulances are responding to about 6,000 calls a day, about 50 per cent more than average.

James Hohmann, a reporter for the Washington Post noted that on March 27, New York City EMS received 6,406 medical 911 calls, breaking the city’s previous record which was set on September 11, 2001.

Despite hospitals being inundated and struggling to keep up with the spread of the coronavirus, Ms Gaba said she had “never been prouder” to be a physician working in the city.

“My incredible colleagues - everyone - is rising to the occasion. We are doing our best. We will get through this together,” she tweeted.

Healthcare workers flown into New York

More than a dozen healthcare workers travelled from Atlanta to New York to assist hospitals in the city amid the crisis.

South West Airlines shared a photo of all the health care professionals bound for New York on Sunday, local time.

“This photo embodies it all: bravery, courage, and sacrifice,” South West Airlines wrote on Instagram, along with a photo of the workers on the plane.

“These brave souls soldier on in the midst of tremendous risk and exposure, constantly putting the needs of others above their own.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday that more than 76,000 health professionals, including many who’ve recently retired from the field, have volunteered to help in the coronavirus fight.

In a press conference Monday, AEST, US president Donald Trump said the government’s modelling showed the expected “peak” of the virus is still two or three weeks away, however the city may run out of essential supplies in just a week.

New York's famous Times Square has been empty due to the coronavirus pandemic. Source: Getty Images

New York City mayor, Bill De Blasio called upon the federal government to deliver 400 more ventilators to city hospitals by Wednesday.

The United States now has more confirmed cases of the coronavirus than any country in the world with 143,055 cases at the time of writing.

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