Coronavirus Live Updates: Trump Warns of ‘a Lot of Death’ and New Virus Hot Spots

Coronavirus Live Updates: Trump Warns of ‘a Lot of Death’ and New Virus Hot Spots

Residents from the I.C.U. at the Brooklyn Hospital Center presented their cases to the attending physicians last week speaking in shorthand and at auctioneer-like speed.

“Admitted for acute hypoxic respiratory failure secondary to likely Covid-19.”

“Admitted for acute hypoxic respiratory failure secondary to confirmed Covid-19.”

“Admitted for acute hypoxic respiratory failure, high suspicion of Covid-19.”

Nearly every person lying in a bed in the new intensive care unit, just as in the main one, was breathing with the help of a mechanical ventilator.

There were patients in their 80s and in their 30s. Patients whose asthma and diabetes helped explain their serious illness. And patients who seemed to have no risk factors at all. Patients from nursing homes. Patients who had no homes. Pregnant women, some of whom would not be conscious when their babies were delivered to increase their odds of surviving to raise their children.

This was the week that the coronavirus crisis pummeled hospitals throughout New York City, where deaths reached more than 2,000, as the governor warned that vital equipment and supplies would run short in just a few days, as the mayor pleaded for more doctors and as hospital officials and political leaders alike acknowledged that the situation would get even worse.

At the Brooklyn Hospital Center — a medium-size independent community hospital — that toll was evident. Deaths attributed to the virus more than quintupled from the previous week. The number of inpatients confirmed to have Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, grew from 15 to 105, with 48 more awaiting results. Hospital leaders estimated that about a third of doctors and nurses were out sick. The hospital temporarily ran out of protective plastic gowns, of the main sedative for patients on ventilators, of a key blood pressure medication. The sense of urgency and tragedy was heightened by a video, circulating online, showing a forklift hoisting a body into a refrigerated trailer outside the hospital.

Some nurses cared for five critically ill patients at a time, when the norm there was just two. The array of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and respiratory therapists who were accustomed to working in the I.C.U. needed reinforcements, so a podiatrist and two of her resident trainees, a neurosurgery physician assistant, surgery residents and a nurse anesthetist joined in to help.

Dr. James Gasperino, the chair of medicine and vice president for critical care at the hospital, conferred in the hallway with the director of respiratory therapy. The hospital had 98 ventilators, many acquired in recent days. Employees were running simulations to practice how they might use each ventilator to treat two patients, a difficult and risky proposition. “We’re doing this because the alternative is death,” Dr. Gasperino said.

One student fantasized about buying a $30,000 seat on a private jet. One mother, frustrated with her inability to bring her daughter home, sent masks instead. One group of desperate parents made an unusually public appeal to the Chinese government for help.

The coronavirus outbreak has stranded more than one million Chinese students in empty dormitories and fearful towns and cities around the world.

Many of those overseas students want to flee back to China, where official numbers suggest that the authorities have made progress in containing the pandemic. Fear, politics and the competing priorities of the Chinese government stand in the way.

Virtually all flights to and from China have been canceled as Beijing tries to keep infected travelers from reigniting the contagion there. Remaining seats are breathtakingly expensive. For students trapped in the United States, their families worry that tense relations between Beijing and Washington will hinder Chinese-run evacuation efforts.

The fears led one group of parents to publicly petition the Chinese government, a risky move in a country that increasingly tries to keep a lid on dissent. In an open letter posted online and addressed to the Chinese ambassador to the United States, the parents of 200 students in the New York area carefully praised the Chinese government’s support for its citizens overseas. Then it cited the “Wolf Warrior” series of films, huge hits in China, in which patriotic soldiers from the People’s Liberation Army protect Chinese people from overseas threats.

The stranded students have put Beijing in a bind. It is anxious to tame the coronavirus outbreak that raged through the country before it spread abroad, putting its economy in free fall. Bringing in people from abroad, the government believes, invites further spread.

A drug recovery meeting hosted online. A police officer wearing a face mask. A pastor without a congregation. A funeral director trying to bury the dead.

The merciless threat slipped into the country, emptying its streets, shuttering its stores, wrecking its economy and forcing its people to retreat indoors.

In this pandemic nation, once crowded cities now feel abandoned, as if everyone suddenly moved out. There is no rush hour. “Closed” signs hang from the front doors of business after business. But there are new connections, too.

For many, this coronavirus pandemic involves the most dramatic kind of fight — for life, for food, for money. For others, it can feel absurdly trifling as they stay inside — a fight against boredom, binge eating, isolation.

This was 24 hours in a new America this week.

If it weren’t the age of social distancing, people would stop them on the street to take selfies. Instead, they get adoring messages on social media. Others appear on television daily.

The new celebrities emerging across Europe as the coronavirus burns a deadly path through the continent are not actors or singers or politicians. Instead, they are epidemiologists and virologists who have become household names after spending most of their lives in virtual anonymity.

While nurses and doctors treat patients on the front lines, epidemiologists and virologists who have spent careers in lecture halls and laboratories have become the most trusted sources of information in an era of deep uncertainty, diverging policy and raging disinformation.

After a long period of popular backlash against experts and expertise, which underpinned a sweep of political change and set off culture wars in much of the developed world, societies besieged by coronavirus isolation and desperate for facts are turning to these experts for answers, making them national heroes.

“During a crisis, heroes come to the forefront because many of our basic human needs are threatened, including our need for certainty, meaning and purpose, self-esteem, and sense of belonging with others,” said Elaine Kinsella, a psychology professor at the University of Limerick in Ireland who has researched the role of heroes in society.

“Heroes help to fulfill, at least in part, some of these basic human needs,” she added.

The scientist-heroes emerging from the coronavirus crisis rarely have the obvious charisma of political leaders, but they show deep expertise and, sometimes, compassion.

In Italy, a nation ravaged by the virus more than any other in the world so far, Dr. Massimo Galli, the director the infectious diseases department at Luigi Sacco University Hospital in Milan, swapped his lab coat for a suit and accepted he “would be overexposed in the media” in order to set things straight, he told one talk show.

In Greece, which has so far been spared a major outbreak, everyone tunes in when Prof. Sotirios Tsiodras, a slender-framed, gray-haired man, addresses the nation every day at 6 p.m.

His delivery is flat, and he relies heavily on his notes as he updates the country on the latest figures of those confirmed sick, hospitalized or deceased. Occasionally, he offers practical advice, like a solution of four teaspoons of bleach per liter of water can be sprayed on surfaces for disinfection.

Reporting was contributed by Michael Crowley, Denise Grady, Sheri Fink, Alexandra Stevenson, Tiffany May and Matina Stevis-Gridneff.

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