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New York’s strength, then and now

2 11 15

I was in the operating room in January 2020 when I overheard the scrub tech mention a news story about an odd respiratory illness circulating overseas. I’m a lung surgeon, so naturally it caught my attention.

Soon enough, the implications of this illness, COVID-19, would hit home. And I would see my city transformed once again like it did 20 years earlier.

On Sept 11, 2001, I was performing surgery on a patient with asbestos cancer when a nurse entered the room and cried that an airplane had just hit the World Trade Center.

After finishing our case, we ran to the nearest TV and watched in horror as the second plane hit. The towers crumbled, killing thousands, including a high school classmate, I would later learn. We prepared the emergency room at Memorial Sloan Kettering for casualties, but strangely, the numbers coming in were initially small. So many that day either died on site or walked away. Some who did need treatment had already gone to either Saint Vincent’s or Bellevue.

I felt I had to do something. So I got on my bicycle and headed downtown. The streets were in mayhem; cars were speeding........

© NY Daily News

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