A top New York City surgeon warned that the hospital he works at could reach peak volume for COVID-19 cases in as few as 22 days — while grappling with the likelihood that physicians will be hit with the virus.
Dr. Craig Smith, who is the chief of surgery at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, wrote a letter to colleagues Friday predicting that the hospital could be over capacity for coronavirus patients in 22 to 32 days.
“The hard data has become alarming,” Smith wrote in a memo. “I wish I could use a more comforting word.”
Smith said in an update Saturday that the number of undetected patients with coronavirus is likely “much larger than we imagined,” which could put medical professionals at higher risk for the virus.
He said that is has become evident that the virus has already begun to infect colleagues on the frontlines of the health crisis.
“In the past few days it has also become obvious that the virus has breached our Department walls, and we can expect to hear about increasing numbers of infected Department colleagues,” he wrote. “It should be no surprise if these infections appear in clusters associated with the care of infected patients.”
Smith said that “this undermines the importance of deploying providers strategically to minimize the chance of incapacitating all or one specialty because of illness or virus.”
New York confirmed more than 11,600 coronavirus cases on Saturday with at least 4,500 alone in the five boroughs.
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