Coronavirus News: New York City ER doctor sees signs of hope in COVID-19 fight

ASTORIA, Queens (WABC) -- For weeks, Dr. Matthew Bai has been fighting on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, and he's been recording it.

"The things that I see in the ER are scary," he said on a video blog three weeks ago. "I'm a little scared myself."

Dr. Bai is a emergency room physician at Mount Sinai Queens, and he is a warrior in the battle to save lives from COVID-19.

The emergency department has been overflowing at times, with all of the rooms full and patients being treated in the hallway. But now, the story is starting to change.

"The volume is down, but they're coming sicker," he said. "So when they come in, they can be to the extreme where they have no pulse already."

Some have such low oxygen levels they are starting to turn blue, and many of them are younger.

"It's even more stressful when the young patients come in and they don't end up making it," he said. 'It takes an emotional toll on everyone. It makes us realize that everyone can be affected."

Dr. Bai says his personal fear of infection is why he sent his wife and 18-month-old baby away from their apartment weeks ago.

And even at the end of these tough days, that often come without a break, he's found a way to bridge the distance and connect with his family.

"I look forward every day after work to do a video call with them, and put my daughter to sleep with my wife," he said.

Dr. Bai says every member on their team lives for the moments that potentially go viral, when coronavirus survivors leave the hospital to ovations from doctors, nurses and hospital staff.

"Everyone feels great afterwards," he said. "Everyone was cheering. All of our hard work means something."

It could be weeks before Dr. Bai feels it's safe to actually see and hug his wife and baby again, but for now, he says the occasional treats and goodie bags that are donated make a difference and encourages those who are on the front lines.


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