Behind Enemy Lines

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Behind Enemy Lines

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THE BIG APPLE IS IN BAD SHAPE

It's the epicentre of the US fight against the corona virus outbreak. Its people are in lockdown while frontline services wage war against the pandemic.

With around 10,000 deaths estimated to have been caused by the virus, New York City accounts for over a third of all corona-related casualties in the US.

Every day, there are hundreds of new infections and deaths. The city's hospitals are overflowing, health workers lack medical and protective equipment and morgues have run out of space.

Reporter Karishma Vyas, a New York resident, goes behind the lines of the city's battle to slow infections, save lives, protect its vulnerable and bury the dead.

Following paramedics as they respond to emergency house calls and helping desperate families we discover many who die of COVID -19 don't make the official death toll.

The police union hands out desperately needed personal safety equipment to their officers, one saying “I thought I'd seen it all on September 11th but I've never seen anything like this. We're anticipating this getting even worse. So that's why we're trying to get this equipment out to our guys," An ICU nurse who's travelled from out of state to lend a hand in a Bronx hospital tells us about working double shifts, often with no break, and the pressure of looking after multiple critically ill patients at the same time. A good day is when none of his patients die. One overworked doctor describes his frustration with the US health system. "I've had people come in barely breathing and their first question isn't 'Am I going to survive?' It's 'How is this going to impact my family financially?This illness exposes all the fault-lines throughout American society,"

Of course there are characters who embody the city's spirit of defiance and survival. "I want to be remembered as someone who never left the frontlines and who was essential," says the Naked Cowboy, a performer whose stage is Times Square - rain, hail or coronavirus.

This is an intimate and powerful portrait of a city in crisis.

A Foreign Correspondent Story

Credits

Foreign Correspondent
Australian Broadcasting Corporation