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To see refrigerated 53-feet trucks parked outside of most NYC hospitals was a constant reminder of just how overwhelming this pandemic has been. These trucks served as additional morgue surge capacity for hospitals which generally do not have much space for the deceased. The USNS Comfort and the use of the Jacob Javits Convention Center were also signs of the troubled times as it provided care to the surge of patients with COVID-19 from the overwhelmed hospitals. Expected physical and mental health consequences from working long hours under these difficulty conditions and lack of sleep and healthy diet will all contribute to lowering the immune system of the providers at a time where we need them to be as strong as possible. We need to acknowledge and prepare for the emotional and mental health toll that this prolonged exposure can and will have on our EMS providers. We need to take advantage of this lull and prepare for the next wave. We cannot be caught off guard again. All EMS personnel demonstrated outstanding courage and dedication in the wake of danger. But the human aspect of what these conditions will do cannot be overlooked. Because at the end of the day, every EMT and paramedic are still human beings with families that they want to protect even more than the patients they serve. To date, there are several EMS providers who have recovered but others are still in quarantine, hospitalized, and even intubated. Sadly, we may also know of an EMS colleague who has died from COVID-19 exposure. We must remember those who have died during this pandemic including seven NYC EMS providers: EMT Greg Hodge, EMT John Redd, EMT Richard Seaberry, EMT Idris Bey, EMT/EMD Marlene Picone, Paramedic/RN Brian Saddler and Paramedic Anthony Thomas. I personally knew Marlene, Brian and Tony and will miss them all. May we remember all EMS providers who died from COVID-19 across this country. I can only hope that we will not suffer additional losses but I am not too confident in making that statement. I hereby salute all EMTs and paramedics during this 2020 EMS Week whose theme is so appropriately “Ready today. Prepare for tomorrow.� Now more than ever, we need to make this theme matter. Let us learn from our experience and put it to good use. We owe it to those who made the ultimate sacrifice during this pandemic. As appeared in Journal of Emergency Medical Services on May 21, 2020.

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