TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) -- New York is being hit hard by the coronavirus and it doesn't look like it's slowing down anytime soon. One doctor in New York, originally from Washington Indiana, said he doesn't want his present to become our future.
A former defensive lineman for Indiana State Football and Washington High School Ben Obaseki grew up in the Wabash Valley. But now, instead of working on tackling the quarterback on the field. He's working on tackling this virus in the medical field.
"I'm in the middle of my second year of a three-year residency program for emergency medicine and I'm doing this in Brooklyn, New York," Obaseki said.
New York, the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"A lot of the people I work with, some of the older attendings will say that they've never seen anything like this in their career," he said. "And these are people who have been practicing for 20, 30 and 40 years."
He said right now, patients are waiting in lines just to get seen. He said they don't have enough equipment, they're understaffed and overwhelmed.
"There were warnings. I'm not sure we were hearing those warnings as we should have and because of that now we're behind the ball," Obaseki said. "With things like COVID and viruses such as COVID, it's really dangerous to get behind the curve. Once it gets going it's very hard to catch up and to gain ground."
So why does all of that matter to you in the Wabash Valley?
Obaseki said New York has over 70 acute care facilities. They thought it would be enough and they would be okay.
"Just thinking of the hospitals in my community where I grew up. I just hope and wonder, do they have the resources necessary to handle a large influx of people if it comes to that. And I hope they do, but I fear they don't," he said.
Obaseki said he doesn't want what's happening in New York, what he's experiencing first hand, to happen in small communities like here.
"I'm hoping me speaking and getting my message across to my hometown and my home community that people will hear this warning and really take it to heart," he said. "But time will tell what happens and what happens is going to depend in large part on how seriously we take this."
Right now predictions are 100 to 200 thousand deaths in the U.S. before this is all over. Obaseki said if we don't take this seriously we will see closer to the 200 thousand number, or maybe even more.