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ABC News: EMS on the front lines dealing with 'madness'

Mar 31, 2020

[From ABC News]

EMS on the front lines dealing with 'madness,' sleeping in their cars to avoid infecting their families

The FDNY said that about 20% of members were out sick with symptoms of COVID-19.

Emergency medical service workers in Queens, New York, described living and working in what amounts to a "war zone" as they seek to help residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We have thousands of people that are sick. Thousands that are dying," Oren Barzilay, president of FDNY-EMS Local 2507, told ABC News on Tuesday. "It's all over our city. It's not just an isolated case. It's all around us."

Barzilay said that the city had even broken a record for 911 calls Monday -- 7,200 calls -- passing Friday's record of 7,100.

He said that while his workers were "still holding the line" and doing what was necessary to save lives, they were short on personal protective equipment and needed a lot of supplies.

"We want people to be mindful when they call 911. ... We're dealing with severely ill people at the moment that need our attention," he said. "The hospitals are overwhelmed as we are overwhelmed."

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