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Thoughts during a COVID nightmare
  1. J Mocco
  1. Department of Neurological Surgery, Mount Sinai Health System, New York, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr J Mocco, Mount Sinai Health System, New York, NY 10029, USA; j.mocco{at}

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I am happy most of the country has not gone through what we have here. However, without shared experience, how do we understand? I would like to try to convey some of my thoughts, having experienced, first hand, the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic over the past 2 months in New York City. It is not easy, but I think necessary. I am worried that if we don’t communicate, it will lead to misunderstanding, and if there is misunderstanding, then more lives will be lost.

Some friends and I share a text group. These friends live across the country, many are physicians. Its purpose is social. Funny memes, sarcastic comments, and occasional sincere best wishes are the mainstay. While a typical accumulation of texts flew about the other night, one of my friends wrote, “We have 11 hospitals sitting empty for a total of 45 cases treated and two were in the hospital – NYC screwed us all.”

I rarely cry (except the funeral scene in My Girl), but I teared up when I got that text. The force of what I had been experiencing the past few weeks, in contrast to my friend’s profound lack of insight, was enough to tip me over the edge.

He doesn’t know what he avoided.

I know he wasn’t thinking about me specifically, and he was clearly going for some amount of comic effect (in a regional pride sort of way), and I know he is a good person (before anyone guesses, he isn’t a …

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