‘We are being hit really hard’: Coronavirus hammers New Orleans

New York City has become the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., with The New York Times reporting Thursday that the death toll in the city from the disease had surpassed 1,500. But New York isn’t the only major metropolis getting pummelled by COVID-19.

According to Fox News, New Orleans’ chief of emergency medical services (EMS) said Wednesday that the coronavirus outbreak in the Big Easy rivals that of the Big Apple.

“We are being hit really hard and there were numbers of infection per capita that are very close to New York,” Dr. Emily Nichols explained Wednesday on Bill Hemmer Reports, according to Fox.

Anticipating a surge

Nichols went on to say that the infection is taking a toll on medical personnel, too.

“Similar to the amount of [emergency] employees, the percentage of employees that are out sick, we do have several that are in isolation with symptoms right now,” the doctor told Fox. “We are fortunate that some of them [emergency workers] are actually coming back to work, so we are seeing some recovery.”

Anticipating an increase in cases from here, Nichols told Fox that “the biggest thing” the city needs “right now” is supplies.

“More personal protective equipment, PPE, and we are anticipating a surge in needs throughout the region, particularly in the hospital and patients needing ventilators,” she said.

Still, Nichols said the situation remains fluid. “If we have more patients that need care, it will take more equipment, so every day we are reevaluating,” she told Fox.

Hard days ahead

For his part, President Donald Trump has warned Americans that they can expect “hard days” ahead, stating in a Tuesday press briefing that “the surge is coming, and it’s coming pretty strong,” the Washington Examiner reported.

“I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead,” Trump added, according to the Examiner. “As a nation we’re going to have a really rough two weeks. Our strength will be tested and our endurance will be tried.”

The president had said that as many as 240,000 Americans could die due to the coronavirus, and more than 5,000 already have, according to The Hill. On Tuesday, however, Dr. Anthony Fauci, a star player on the president’s coronavirus task force, sought to reassure Americans that the steps they’re taking to mitigate the virus’s spread are working.

“We gotta brace ourselves: In the next several days to a week or so, we’re going to continue to see things go up,” Fauci said, according to the Examiner. “We cannot be discouraged by that because the mitigation is actually working and will work.”

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