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NYC nurse shares a harrowing photograph of victims to show the devastating impact of COVID-19

"It is the ghastly reality of what we deal with and where some of us have ended up already," the unidentified nurse said of the photo.

NYC nurse shares a harrowing photograph of victims to show the devastating impact of COVID-19
Image Source: A doctor from SOMOS Community Care prepares to test a patient at a drive-thru testing center for coronavirus at Lehman College on March 28, 2020, in the Bronx, New York City. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

On Sunday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo offered a grim assessment of the COVID-19 pandemic engulfing the state. According to The New York Times, he revealed that a whopping 237 deaths had been reported since the day before, making it the largest one-day spike since the outbreak in the state. He warned that based on current projections, the situation would only get worse in the upcoming days. "I don’t think there’s any way to look at those numbers," he said, "without seeing thousands of people pass away." The same day, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to brag about his spike in television ratings.



While the President made his priorities in the midst of this pandemic crystal clear, reporter David Mack called his attention to the rising pile of dead bodies. Today I saw a photo of bodies — American bodies — wrapped in plastic and lined up on the floor of a refrigerated truck parked outside a hospital because the morgue was overflowing, he tweeted at Trump, alongside a jarring photograph of the inside of a refrigerated truck loaded with the bodies of those who had died from complications of COVID-19.


The photograph—shared with BuzzFeed News—was snapped by a 38-year-old registered nurse at a Manhattan hospital. The unidentified medical worker had stepped out to the building’s ambulance bay towards the end of his shift on Sunday morning when he noticed the giant refrigerator truck parked there. He walked up to the truck, opened the latch, and snapped a picture of the harrowing sight inside. "I took it to show to people," the emergency room nurse explained. "It is the ghastly reality of what we deal with and where some of us have ended up already." He said that he couldn't get the image out of his head. "Maybe as a Jew I relate it to all of the Holocaust footage because that’s my only point of reference for such an image of humans. Never seen something quite like it."


One of the bodies inside the truck was that of a patient he could never forget. The night before, he'd sat with her and held her hand as she took her last breath. "I never had the patience to sit with somebody I’d just met until they took their last breath. But I really liked this lady’s cardigan and pajamas so I decided to stay and get to know her a little," he said. "Her hair was elegantly done with a sharp, meticulous clip and casually pulled up with a bandana that matched her house clothes. Perhaps if she’d covered her face with it instead, she wouldn’t have ended up here in the first place. But she didn’t die alone."


The Coronavirus pandemic has stretched hospitals around the city to the breaking point, putting the lives of doctors and nurses at grave risk as they run dangerously low on personal protective equipment like masks and gowns. "If we are COVID positive, we are expected to work for as long as we are asymptomatic. However we cannot get tested unless we are symptomatic," the nurse explained. "They don’t want to test us because, at the rates we are exposed, we are likely all sick and we don’t know it."


"We are rationed personal protective equipment to absurdity," he revealed, adding that they were given "one disposable mask and one disposable gown that we must sign out for, that is expected to be used for five 12-hour shifts before they will be replaced." His revelations come as President Trump rejected New York's plea for more ventilators and seemed to imply that Gov. Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and NYC hospitals are hoarding masks and other protective equipment. "There is something going on. I don't know if it is hoarding. It is maybe worse than hoarding," he told reporters.




Disclaimer: Information about COVID-19 is swiftly changing, and Upworthy is committed to providing the most recent and verified updates in our articles and reportage. However, considering the frequency in developments, some of the information/data in this article may have changed since the time of publication. Therefore, we encourage you to also regularly check online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization.

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