Scenes from a Pandemic

Fighting a Virus and Scared for our Lives

Photos by
John Rae

On March 1, the first case of COVID-19 was officially reported in New York City. Within a few days, scores of critically sick began flooding into the city's 11 public hospitals, suffering from a virus that would grip our patients, staff and eventually our entire city. Teams of doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists provided care for thousands of COVID-19 patients. There were moments of devastation and immeasurable loss. But, as patients recovered, signs of hope emerged. Staff created rituals to celebrate recovery and keep fighting. Because that's what heroes do.

Teams of doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists provided care for thousands of patients with COVID-19.

When COVID-19 testing began in April, hundreds lined up outside health clinics including Gotham Health, Morrisania in the South Bronx.

COVID-19 testing at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst

NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst set up an outdoor testing tent.

To provide fast results, NYC Health + Hospitals labs are performing about 6,000 tests per day.

Pulmonologists at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst attend to patient.

Patient care at NYC Health + Hospitals/North Central Bronx

Monitoring a patient at NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island.

Dr. Noella Boma of NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan in an emotional moment.

Paramedics assist a patient at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan.

Dr. Regina Hammock of NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull.

Dr. Moira McCarthy of NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln.

Attending to a patient at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst.

Nearly 9,000 nurses came to New York City's public hospitals to help during the surge. Here, two nurses confer at NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island in Brooklyn.

Respiratory Therapists played a crucial role during the surge.

COVID-19 test sample at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi Lab.

At NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi, a doctor shares a quiet moment with a patient.

Health care workers quickly adapted to PPE measures and sanitization.

Monitoring a patient at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln in the Bronx.

Dedicated Community Care nurse Man-Hong Wan continued home visits during the surge.

Due to visitation restrictions at nursing homes, many residents experienced depression. At NYC Health + Hospitals/McKinney, Nurse Kerline Jean-Claude braids a resident's hair to lift her spirits.

Temperature checks for staff were put in place to prevent spread of the virus.

A Wall of Gratitude rose at NYC Health Hospitals/Metropolitan to recognize our health care workers.

Dr. Diaz reminded mothers to continue wellness visits for young children.

Staff at NYC Health + Hospitals/Sea View used Facetime to help nursing home residents connect to loved ones.

Head nurse, Carmintina Silvestre-Tan at NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler reviews COVID-19 procedures with nurse.

At NYC Health + Hospitals/Carter in Harlem, staff arranged daily virtual visits at bedside that brought smiles to both residents and staff.

Nurse Bianca Disomma at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan.

Dr. Mark Watson of NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull.

NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst, a patient in distress is consoled by health care worker.

Due to visitation restrictions, patients could not see loved ones and sought comfort from doctors and nurses.

At NYC Health +Hospitals/Bellevue in Manhattan, teams of doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists treated critically-ill COVID-19 patients.

Caring for positive patients at NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County.

Dr. Amit Uppal of NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue.

At left, Dr. Matthew Langston, Director of Pulmonary Critical Care at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi.

The U.S. Dept. of Defense deployed 700 volunteers to the city's public hospitals including nurses, internists and support staff. World Central Kitchen provided meals for staff.

Staff created new rituals to celebrate recovery, like playing joyful music when a patient improved or was discharged. Employees rejoiced with singing and dancing to mark these victories.