NYC doctors describe being on the frontlines in US's coronavirus epicenter: Part 1

With more COVID-19 cases in New York City than anywhere else in the U.S., medical professionals are being redirected to ICUs as the state tries to boost its health care system.
9:36 | 03/24/20

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Transcript for NYC doctors describe being on the frontlines in US's coronavirus epicenter: Part 1
This is a crisis. I'm all the crimes doctor John book far has been a doctor for twenty years. She's a brain surgeon at one of New York city's most well known hospitals but now he's not working in the OR. He's headed to the be all. The front lines before it opened in nineteen amateur surgeon and frankly I haven't integrated patient in many years. And that means re learning emergency medical care and. We are soldiers fighting this invisible virus. And we entered the trenches every game are we going to the hospital whether it's in our emergency rooms whether it's on our intensive care units. This sheer magnitude of the virus outbreak is like a wave about to overtake the US health care system more than 43006. At least 550. Dead to help relieve that burden tens of millions of Americans have been told to stay at home so far at least twenty states have already implemented or announced closures of nonessential businesses we are at the epicenter of this crisis. With. More than 121000. Positive test results New York City has more cases than any one single location in the country. To all hospitals mandatory director from the state. Find more beds used more rings are different and emergency room doctor Darian Sutton is among those sounding the alarm. Because they are cloudy with respiratory symptoms normally can put it and are easily sit Arabs but we only have a numbered amount of the and so once those front out. It is a very high chance that my colleagues can get sick and wanted to do any reasons why is because we have such a limited now to the quicker we're not out of secret clearance as many people paying us. New York has tested more people than any of the state so far the people who test positive and 13% require hospitalization. Of those nearly a quarter are an intensive care. Testing in the city and its suburbs is going up this week in car started lining up at a drive through facility in neighboring New Jersey. The site hit capacity just a half hour after opening. With a massive influx of patients New Yorkers calling on the federal government to help while also trying to buy more supplies. Masks. That we paid 85 cents for. We're not paying seven dollars. Why because California's bidding in Illinois is bidding and Texas is debating in Florida is betting it makes no sense. The federal government must national alliance. The equipment production and supply. Issue. Internal memos written by Columbia university's chief surgeon doctor Greg Smith say this hospitals have seen a 50%. Increase in corona virus patients Jesus surgery at Columbia University warning. In a memo to staff. The hospital normally uses 4009. And 95 mask a day currently they are consuming 40000. Such mask per day. Our doctor Cornelia Griggs is a surgery fellow at Columbia University. Happening to me is split second decision and the right in a running into this room. See this speech in order. And I can and it tee time to train scramble and aren't. And it's not just in the hospital. The commissioner of the FDNY is worried about his EMTs and fired. Basically what they're protected with of these types of assignments or gloves. I protection masks. And disposable ropes the burn rate for these PP equipment. Is very high. Mike and hospitals his teams are losing number its first responders test positive for cult nineteen. It's very personally each and every day I get a report numbers climb sitting in state officials here are sending out the SOS for help. New York governor Andrew Cuomo tore at the Javits Center in midtown Manhattan facility used Lee hosts some of the country's biggest industry conventions. Now home to a temporary FEMA hospital he's also putting out the call for any reserve medical personnel to step forward. I'm contacting all the retired nurses. All retired doctors. I'm asking medical schools that make their staff available nursing schools and make their staff available. The federal government is sending the US Ines comfort to New York a navy hospital ship it will also handle overflow from city facilities but not any Covert nineteen patients. It is not necessarily. So easy to transport patients to a floating hospital in New York Harbor it would be much easier to do so. At some elected javits convention center however. We're still gonna run into her staff shortage showed just because their dens doesn't mean your staff and does mean that Reuters. In fact the city only had a week's worth of ventilator slept but this afternoon the federal government sent a lifeline. 400 more. That's 400 tremendously helpful and and it's gonna help us get through this week into next week began our requests is for 151000. To get us through April may New York fire commissioner not grow helped lead the FDNY through the aftermath of many Leavitt. In says this city can show the country how to persevere through crisis again. The world was divided between your life before and your life after what happened on 9/11. I think right now on this pandemic most of us have a life before and we have today's life which is the pandemic 24/7. And once again we will be strong as we were there. And strength we are learning just like the virus knows no boundaries. Street witness in hospitals across the country. Tremendous announced because. Every delegate to work and I see that people that are working tirelessly. To solve this problem right this problem every single day twenty for hours a day seventy sweet. Men and women are leaving. Their loved ones behind and going into this cease and teen Ager Liane I can't tell you how proud I am to be. Among some the most courageous and caring QBs. And never seen. Earlier today I spoke with New Jersey governor Phil Murphy about how he's fighting the pandemic there. Governor thank you so much for joining us you're state New Jersey has the second highest number of confirmed cases in the country. You compare this medical crisis tool war. So in this war do you in your medical workers in New Jersey have the weapons that unique. Are due to be with you first of all but the answer is no. We do not have the equipment that we need I'm grateful that we've gotten a second installment on its way from the strategic stockpile nationally. Of personal protective equipment. But we need more late last night as you know the presidents we did that quote we cannot let the cure be worse. Then the problem itself. Some to speculate or whether the economy cost of strict social distancing outweighs a public health benefit from it. What do you think well I I think. Pretty well self declared in the category of let's take the pain now in the paint is enormous by the way. Workers who have low Otto Otto work. But I have to tell you our numbers and in terms of the virus are going up and not down at least in the near term it will got to be vigilant about that. Go you make of what they governor of Florida has sensing that anyone traveling from New Jersey New York to self isolate. For fourteen days that's the first time on hearing yet. I I would just say this any amount of social distancing any amount of self help that folks can give. To them themselves and their families their neighbors their friends. And the key is to fly the Kirk governor one of your state run drive through testing sinners exceed the capacity even before it opened. How do you meet that need moves in for. We'll salute Penn visiting enormous pent up demand. Again I want to thank our FEMA partners that help those open to drive through testing. Sites in the past week. There are both working but the probable courses is a lot more people who wanna get tested. That we have the equipment or manpower. To test will do everything we can't at a certain point oh or on the road. Between testing and putting a lot of manpower and equipment and to care. Fork in the road bridges so we don't hurt in a perfect world we want to test everybody absent a lot more raw material. And absent another wave of health care workers we're gonna have choices coming up in the next number of weeks between. Diverting those resources both human and end equipment. Two testing or toward care of those who were sick. Now I'm. An optimist and out on pounding away every single day on getting that equipment to allow us to do both. And that's my hope although we're hope for the best we're preparing for the worst governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey thank you sir godspeed to you senior citizens. Said Bierbauer thanks for having me.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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