NYC Doctor Warns His Hospital Is Already at Breaking Point on Coronavirus, Dismisses Trump’s Easter Restart as ‘Magical Thinking’


Columbia University Director of Global Medicine Dr. Craig Spencer summarily dismissed the idea, floated by President Donald Trump, of a broad end to social distancing measures and a restart of normal life by Easter, noting that his hospital is already close to overwhelmed with coronavirus cases.

Speaking with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Spencer detailed the sharp uptick of COVID-19 cases he has seen in just the past week, an ominous trend mirrored elsewhere in New York City as well as other major cities around the country.

“Dr. Spencer. Do you in the hospital halls see light at the end of the tunnel as the president seems to?” Cooper asked.

“The reality is what we’re seeing right now in our emergency rooms is dire,” Spencer explained. “Last week when I went to work we talked about the one or two patients amongst the dozens of others that might have been a COVID or coronavirus patient. This week in my shift nearly every single patient I took care of was coronavirus and many of them extremely severe. Many were put on breathing tubes. Many decompensated quickly.”

“Our first New York City case was on March 1st. That’s just over three weeks ago,” he added, alluding to the fact that there were nearly 22,000 confirmed cases as of Tuesday night. “To think that will be in any place to lift these restrictionary measures by Easter in just two or three weeks, for me, seems completely magical thinking. What we know is that this math and modelling that can tell us is the number of cases are going to continue to rise. We’re really at the beginning of this outbreak. You can feel that. You can sense it. It’s palpable on the front lines.”

“In terms of supplies, do you have all the supplies you need?” Cooper asked. “I can’t tell you how many messages I’m getting from nurses and doctors in hospitals all over New York with specific examples of what they do not have.”

“The supply chain is extremely tight,” Spencer said. “One thing I tell people when I worked in west Africa for ebola, the one thing I never worried about was having enough ppe, personal protective equipment. It’s something my colleagues all over New York City are worried about now. The number of masks people are given, we’re given, some people are given one n-95 respirator mask — the thicker one that helps prevent the virus from being inhaled by a provider — given one of those a week. And the CDC doesn’t want you re-using those. People are given one surgical mask a shift. And everything, everyone is doing everything they can to conserve supplies because we know we’re just at the beginning of this.”

Watch the video above, via CNN.

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