A New York City emergency room doctor -- who survived the Ebola virus five years ago -- says the city's hospitals are being all but overrun by the rush of COVID-19 cases.
Craig Spencer is director of global health in emergency medicine at New York-Presbyterian / Columbia University Medical Center. He splits his time between working in the ER and responding to epidemiological crises around the world.
In 2014, Spencer gained a measure of notoriety as New York's first Ebola patient, having contracted the disease while responding to an outbreak there.
Now Spencer is getting attention again, this time for his exhausted description of how severe the coronavirus outbreak has become in New York City.
"Finally home after 13 hours in the ER. Today >90% of my patients were confirmed or likely #COVID19. Many really sick, some in their 30s like me. The sirens on otherwise empty NYC streets are unending & haunting. I’m tired. But really honored to be back in the ER in the morning," Spencer said in a tweet just before midnight Sunday.
By Monday night, it had already been "liked" nearly 117,000 times.
Spencer later returned to Twitter on Monday night to chronicle "A Day in the Life of an ER Doc" in New York City, where the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak of the pandemic is now located with more than 20,000 cases, roughly a third of the country's total.
The doctor wrote down the details in his day, from waking up at 6:30 a.m. and making enough coffee to last the entire workday to finally coming home to his toddler who he hadn't seen in days.
"Sometime in the afternoon you recognize you haven't drank any water. You're afraid to take off the mask. It's the only thing that protects you," Spence wrote.
He went on to emphasize the importance of staying and home and social distancing because "Hospitals are nearing capacity. We are running out of ventilators. Ambulance sirens don't stop."
"Everyone we see today was infected a week ago, or more. The numbers will undoubtedly skyrocket overnight, as they have every night the past few days. More will come to the ER. More will be stat notifications. More will be put on a ventilator," he continued. "Where did all the heart attacks and appendicitis patients go? Its all COVID."