On the front lines of a pandemic

One New York doctor, with Wabash Valley ties, is recounting his experience on the front lines. And asking people to take things more seriously.

Posted: Apr 1, 2020 10:31 PM
Updated: Apr 2, 2020 8:56 AM

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.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 31715

Reported Deaths: 1984
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9189533
Lake3299167
Cass15826
Allen127766
St. Joseph117034
Hendricks112367
Hamilton109992
Johnson1082104
Elkhart100827
Madison58258
Porter48721
Bartholomew48033
Clark45838
LaPorte40821
Tippecanoe3733
Jackson3611
Howard35618
Delaware35434
Hancock31927
Shelby31421
Floyd31338
Boone28235
Morgan26124
Vanderburgh2482
Montgomery22717
White2268
Decatur22431
Clinton2151
Noble18520
Grant18520
Harrison18521
Dubois1822
Greene16723
Warrick16426
Dearborn16221
Monroe16010
Henry1597
Vigo1477
Lawrence14322
Miami1391
Putnam1337
Jennings1274
Orange12422
Scott1183
Ripley1126
Franklin1068
Carroll922
Kosciusko861
Daviess8216
Steuben792
Newton7410
Wabash722
Wayne695
Fayette654
Marshall641
LaGrange602
Jasper561
Washington521
Fulton471
Rush452
Jay430
Jefferson411
Randolph403
Pulaski390
Clay391
Whitley392
Brown331
Sullivan321
Starke313
Owen311
DeKalb291
Perry270
Huntington262
Benton250
Knox240
Crawford230
Wells230
Tipton221
Blackford201
Switzerland190
Fountain182
Parke170
Posey170
Spencer161
Gibson142
Ohio130
Adams121
Warren121
Vermillion90
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0152

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 112017

Reported Deaths: 4885
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook730973324
Lake7723250
DuPage7207340
Kane5761152
Will5188258
Winnebago195351
McHenry142767
St. Clair99172
Kankakee79942
Kendall71419
Rock Island63622
Champaign5647
Madison53954
Boone39716
Sangamon33126
DeKalb3253
Randolph2593
Jackson22810
McLean21110
Ogle1922
Stephenson1902
Macon18819
Peoria1797
Clinton17716
Out of IL1641
Union1417
LaSalle14012
Whiteside13410
Iroquois1304
Coles1169
Warren1140
Unassigned1100
Jefferson10116
Knox940
Monroe9211
Grundy892
McDonough835
Lee771
Cass670
Henry670
Tazewell673
Williamson551
Marion500
Jasper457
Adams441
Macoupin411
Perry410
Pulaski400
Montgomery391
Vermilion391
Morgan341
Christian334
Livingston312
Douglas270
Jo Daviess270
Fayette202
Ford201
Jersey201
Washington180
Mason170
Menard170
Woodford172
Shelby161
Bureau151
Mercer150
Carroll132
Hancock130
Franklin120
Crawford110
Fulton110
Piatt110
Bond101
Brown100
Clark100
Cumberland100
Logan100
Moultrie100
Schuyler100
Wayne91
Alexander80
Henderson80
Johnson70
Massac70
Saline70
Effingham61
Greene50
Marshall50
De Witt40
Lawrence40
Richland30
Stark30
Clay20
Edwards20
Gallatin20
Hamilton20
Wabash20
White20
Calhoun10
Hardin10
Pike10
Pope10
Putnam10
Edgar00
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