As the streets of Hartford, Conn., filled with people, I lay in a hospital bed, forcing myself to breathe.
In, out. I told myself. In, out.
I tried to keep time with a monitor beeping at my side, and every so often, I called for a nurse’s help. Two hours had gone by without anyone checking on me, but the hallways were crammed with patients. People lay, masked and still, in the middle of the COVID-19 section of the emergency room at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. No one could hear me. Though I had been sick with COVID-19 for nearly a month, the virus had recently taken a turn, attacking my lungs and my body in an entirely new way.