New York hospitals battle outbreak


People line up to get a test at Elmhurst Hospital due to coronavirus outbreak on March 24, 2020 in Queens, New York, United States. There are now more than 35,000 cases of COVID-19 in the United States as governments scramble to contain the spread.

Eduardo Munoz Alvarez | Getty Images

The top surgeon of a major New York City hospital dealing with a flood of hundreds of patients infected with the coronavirus rallied his staff with a letter that compared the pandemic to a typhoon, and urged them to stand strong in its face.

“A forest of bamboo bends to the ground in a typhoon but rarely breaks,” wrote Dr. Craig Smith, surgeon in chief at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center in upper Manhattan.

“We are that forest and we must not break,” Smith wrote. “By the people, for the people.”

Hospitals in New York City now have more than 2,800 patients with the coronavirus, straining their existing capacity.

Many of those patients are at Smith’s hosital or in other New York-Presbyterian facilities around the Big Apple.

Smith said in his letter that admissions of patients for COVID-19 to his hospital system have continued increasing by about 10% percent each day.

A nurse at Columbia University Medical Center in upper Manhattan said several hundreds of patients there alone had the coronavirus.

About 20% of the hospital’s coronavirus patients are in intensive care units, according to Smith’s letter.

And 80% of ICU patients require ventilators, which are in extremely…


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