HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Some 120,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus have been reported in New York and New Jersey ― the states widely considered to be the epicenter of America’s outbreak.
More then 2,500 people have died of COVID-19 in the Empire State alone, and New York City has confirmed cases of coronavirus than any other metropolitan area in the U.S.
As the cases rise, Punahou School graduate and John A. Burns School of Medicine alumni Dr. Lina Miyakawa has been on the front lines in the Big Apple, assisting those in need.
The Honolulu native serves as a pulmonary and critical care medicine physician at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital, located in Manhattan’s Lower East side.
“The first case that came in about three and a half weeks ago, I was the attending physician in the ICU," said Miyakawa, speaking via Facetime with Hawaii News Now. "So I saw the first case.”
Following an internal medicine residency in California in 2015, Miyakawa ended up back New York, where she had obtained her undergraduate degree from NYU.
Miyakawa has been practicing at the hospital since 2018 and has, in recent weeks, continued to help patients in the country’s most impacted area.
“Someone said to me, ‘I haven’t seen the emergency room like this since Hurricane Sandy,’" said Miyakawa.
“In the ICU we are full. We are full to the brim. Every single bed is full, there’s just a big surge of New Yorkers trying to get help from us.”
Miyakawa, like many others in the medical field, is taking precautions to keep herself safe ― yet she understands the risks that are involved.
“We know that we are going to be on the front line when something like this hits," said Miyakawa. “This is what we signed up for, and I think this is what were meant to do.”
Miyakawa is urging everyone, no matter the age, to take this virus seriously ― and look for ways to be supportive.
“We all try to support each other with elbow bumps and shakas," said Miyakawa. "We have to stay positive and we have to keep spreading the word that we are working hard to try an protect the public here.”