Death every 17 minutes

By Alex P. Vidal

“The uninformed stay home and pray they are never infected with COVID-19, whereas the knowledgeable stay home and prepare the body for a possible future fight with the killer virus.” ― Steven Magee

I went back to the petrifying Elmhurst Hospital in Queens amid a slight downpour Saturday afternoon and noticed that the area, where hundreds of people lined up for coronavirus admission in the last three days, was empty.

There were police cars and the tents placed outside to accommodate a horde of patients (from 200 to 400 a day the last week, according to reports) were still there.

Outside or near the entrance, everyone was coughing and apparently had breathing shortage.

A nurse had said earlier dozens of people with symptoms of the coronavirus were sent to sit on chairs in one unit because there were no beds available.

I decided not to enter the area where coronavirus patients were being treated when I sensed some people screaming.

I didn’t want to add to the burden of the front liners if my issues weren’t that serious.

Dr. Collin Smith, Elmhurst Hospital emergency room doctor, had exposed the eerie situation inside including the lack of tools needed for the “overflowing” Covid-19 patients.

Conditions at the hard-it hospital, located in the most ethnically and linguistically diverse neighborhood, were so bad that it resembled a “war zone.”

There were shortages of both supplies for the medical personnel and beds for their overflow number of coronavirus patients.




The latest grim citywide statistics as of this writing was that New Yorkers have been dying at a rate of one every 17 minutes as 84 more patients died only on Thursday and Friday.

The deaths occurred as the number of positive cases and of those who are critically ill had climbed.

New York has become the epicenter of the country’s outbreak with 52,318 confirmed cases and 728 deaths so far.

When adjusted for population, that translates to roughly 269 known cases for every 100,000 residents.

But experts say those numbers don’t give the whole picture because many cases—including mild or asymptomatic infections—have not been diagnosed.

States have also approached testing differently. In our state in New York, where officials have been testing aggressively, the number of known cases is now doubling about every two days.

In California, the number of known cases is doubling about every three days.

These were the statistics in the United States as of March 29 (Source: State and County Health Departments):

New York (52,318 cases 728 deaths); New Jersey (11,124-140);

Michigan (4,659-111); California (4,643-101); Washington (4,310-189);

Massachusetts (4,257-44); Florida (4,037-55); Illinois (3,491-47);

Louisiana (3,315                -137); Pennsylvania (2,751-34); Georgia (2,446-79); Colorado (2,061-44); Texas    (2,052-27); Connecticut (1,524-33); Ohio (1,406-25); Tennessee (1,373-6); Indiana (1,232-31); Maryland (992-10); Wisconsin (989-13); North Carolina (935-4); Missouri (838-10); Arizona (773-15); Virginia (739-17); Alabama (720-3); Mississippi (663-13); South Carolina (660-15); Nevada            (621-14); Utah (602-2); Oregon (479-13); Minnesota (441-5); Arkansas (409-3); Kentucky (394-8); Oklahoma (377-15); District of Columbia (342-4); Iowa (298-3); Idaho (261-5); Kansas (261-5); Rhode Island (239-2); Delaware (214-5); New Hampshire          (214-2); Maine (211-1); Vermont (211-12); New Mexico (208-2); Hawaii (151-0); Montana (147-1); West Virginia (113       -0); Nebraska (108-2); Alaska (102-2); Puerto Rico (100-3); North Dakota (94-1); Wyoming (84-0); South Dakota  (68-1); Guam (51-1); US Virgin Islands (23-0); Northern Mariana Islands (2-0); American Samoa (0-0);

Repatriations (152-0).




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(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)