New York City Firefighter Talks about the COVID-19 Outbreak
The current coronavirus outbreak in New York City was described as "extremely difficult" as staff in the city's fire department begin to run low on protective gear, equipment, and human resources, said Fire Department lieutenant and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) calls supervisor Anthony Almojera on Monday.
"From a mental standpoint it is a serious strain on us in EMS. We are doing over 6000 calls daily, in the last few days we have done over 44,000 calls. Just to give you some perspective, we normally only do about 4,000 calls a day and 9/11, which was the busiest day in EMS, we did 6,300 calls roughly and the last couple of days we have done over 7,000. So we are tired, we are doing a lot of double shifts, we are very busy, we are running around," Almojera said.
He also said the situation is taking its toll on first responders.
"We are definitely under a serious strain at the moment, it's possible we will start running out of room and supplies. We need help. And the state government is trying to help us as much as possible, they are building temporary hospitals," he said.
"We can do better, we should be doing better. In this day and age in what's supposed to be the richest country in the planet it's unacceptable that nurses should be in trash bags or people should be without the equipment they need," he added.
Almojera said that if the US would have started to prepare when the virus began to spread in China, they would "be fine", but are now left playing "catch-up."
"There has definitely been some failures in government that has left us a little hanging, so to speak, without the equipment that we needed. You know, I think the [US] President [Donald Trump] was advised numerous times that, you know, this was coming, and maybe we didn't prep properly for it. So, I think that's why it's happened now," added Almojera.
According to the latest figures compiled from global reports by Johns Hopkins University, USA is the most affected country by the coronavirus worldwide, having surpassed China, with over 143,000 reported cases and over 2,500 fatalities as of Monday.
New York City is the worst hit area in the country counting over 33,700 infection cases and 770 deaths.