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UCSF nurse describes what it’s like to work on frontlines of coronavirus crisis in New York

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — A nurse from San Francisco is volunteering with the International Medical Corps in New York to help during the coronavirus crisis.

“San Francisco, we’ve been fortunate enough to not have so many cases, it’s not like here,” Nicole Bried tells KRON4.

Nicole Bried works for UCSF in the city but she’s now at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in Queens, New York. She spoke with KRON4 Saturday along with Saied, who also works at the hospital.

“I wanted to come here because I would hope they would do the same for us,” she said. “These nurses have been taking so many sick people who need help for so long now and that’s what made me want to come here.”

New York City is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. As of Saturday afternoon, New York City recorded more than 17,000 deaths related to the virus.

“It’s really hard because these patients are in there by themselves, struggling to breathe and we’re the only people that get to see them, it’s serious and a lot of people are dying,” she said.

Bried applauded her colleagues calling them “self-taught COVID professionals.”

“The nurses here that I work with are incredible…to work alongside these people is an honor to me,” Bried said.

Saied said that when the pandemic began, it started off with more of the elderly coming into the hospital. Then the emergency room began to fill up.

“The emergency room was extremely packed, it was overly packed,” he said. “We would get patients coming in every minute…We actually opened up several units that were previously closed and we made them COVID units.”

He said it’s been about two weeks since the peak in New York City and it’s starting to slow down.

“But it’s still very much here,” he said.

Bried said she wishes she could have others who don’t believe that the pandemic is serious to see it through her eyes.

“I wish people could see through our eyes. I wish we could walk around with a camera and video tape these people suffering alone,” Bried said.

Saied reminded people to stay home and abide by the shelter in place orders.

“You guys don’t want to see these numbers that we’re seeing on the East Coast,” he said. “It’s just not worth it to risk that happening.”

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