Megan Pfeiffer, a paramedic with the New York Fire Department details the experiences of first responders who are keeping the nation going during the coronavirus outbreak in a new video series TIME is launching with Katie Couric. In the video above, Pfeiffer says she’s never seen anything like the crisis that’s happening in New York City.
“It’s basically like a mass casualty incident right now,” Pfeiffer tells Couric. “It’s almost a hopeless situation.”
New York State has the most confirmed cases in the country, with 81,803 positive tests and 4,571 deaths as of April 8, according to a tracker maintained by researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Hospitals have been overwhelmed with patients and suffered from a dire lack of resources.
Although she wears goggles, gloves, a gown and a mask during her shifts, Pfeiffer says she’s been staying at a hotel out of fear of giving the virus to her family.
“I know for a fact I’m being exposed to this virus, I couldn’t live with that if anything happened to them,” Pfeiffer tells Couric.
Through all the turmoil, Pfeiffer says the support and outreach from members of the community has been “absolutely fantastic.”
“They’re calling us heroes which blows my mind,” she says. “I’m like ‘I’m just doing my job.'”
Watch the video above to see how those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic carry out their life-saving jobs.