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Suffocating in the eye of the storm: attempting to breathe at the epicentre of New York’s COVID-19 pandemic
  1. Lynn Jiang1,
  2. Stefan Flores2
  1. 1 Department of Emergency Medicine, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York, New York, USA
  2. 2 Department of Emergency Medicine, New York - Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York, United States
  1. Correspondence to Dr Lynn Jiang, Emergency Medicine, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York, NY 10065, USA; lgj7001{at}

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The phone rings. A text, a call—‘Are you okay? Is it really that bad?’ It’s 4am and none of us are sleeping. My white noise machine can’t silence the sirens that fill the night. It echoes the same repetitive message: COVID-19. It’s here, it’s been here and we haven’t reached the peak yet.

We’re emergency physicians on the frontline of this global pandemic. Lynn moved to New York to start her medical career. She studied, trained and stayed in the NYP Columbia-Cornell family. An original New Yorker, Stefan returned just a few months ago to pursue an academic career post Highland Hospital residency. Little did we know we would be signing up to join a war. A war where the enemy is conniving and silent, designed to hide in hosts days before anyone notices. An enemy so smart that by the time symptoms develop, you have already transmitted the disease to several others.1 2 The enemy was spreading among us, unnamed until a few months ago: the novel coronavirus.

Each day begins with a deep breath, rubbing out the sleep nestled in the bags beneath my eyes. My Uber drives through the ghost town New York City has become. Make-shift divider flapping between us, the driver …

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  • Contributors Both authors contributed equally.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.