New Yorkers have never called the emergency number as much as they're calling it now, often to report "cardiac" events that they believe could be related to the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19).
Emergency Medical Services, which is part of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) that operates the city's paramedic response, says that it continues to receive anywhere from three to four times its average daily call volume for various health emergencies that people believe are associated with the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19).
Interestingly, individual calls to 911 in the Big Apple are now twice as likely to involve a death as they were before, which the FDNY says is attributable to the fact that more patients are now calling 911 when they're closer to death as opposed to sooner. Not only that, but more New Yorkers have now died from the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) than from the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Because of this, EMTs and paramedics are having a more difficult time preventing the patients they're rescuing from dying because, in many cases, it's already too late and they're dead by the time they ever reach a hospital.
"The dramatic increase of cardiac arrest calls and deaths from cardiac arrest calls," a senior official at the FDNY told the media, "demonstrates the impact suspended or confirmed COVID-19 patients are having on 911 and what EMS members are having to respond to every day."
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Just to be clear, a cardiac call is one in which a patient is either already dead from cardiac arrest or right on the verge of dying. When EMS arrives, if a person is found to have obvious signs of death then this is classified as "death on a call," meaning the person couldn't be resuscitated.
Between March 20 and April 5 of last year, there were an average of 69 cardiac calls per day in New York City, with an average of 27 deaths, which calculates to 39 percent of all calls. This year, however, those numbers jumped to an average of 195 cardiac calls per day with an average of 129 deaths, meaning 66 percent of cardiac calls now involve a death.
As the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) has continued to worsen, these numbers have gotten even more severe, with data between March 30 and April 5 showing an average of 284 cardiac calls per day and 200 deaths. This translates to 72 percent of cardiac calls now ending in death.
The worst single day so far was on April 5, when the FDNY received 322 cardiac calls, with 241, or about 75 percent, ending in death.
"I know crews that go from cardiac arrest to cardiac arrest all day," wrote Captain Jing Kong, a 16-year EMS veteran, on the FDNY's official Instagram account.
While it's true that not all of these cardiac events are necessarily attributable to the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), the fact remains that there has been a significant uptick in their prevalence that can't be explained other than the arrival of a novel virus that, as well all know, has pretty much shut down the entire world.
Interestingly, the FDNY has also indicated that many of the cardiac calls it's receiving this year as opposed to last year involve patients suffering from fever and/or cough, which also points to the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) as a potential culprit.
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Sources for this article include: