Timmy Li, URMC Epidemiology PhD Graduate in NY Post as "Hero of the Day"
Monday, April 13, 2020
Volunteer EMT Timmy Li normally spends his free time treating injured runners and cyclists in Central Park.
But as the Big Apple gets crushed with 911 calls due to the coronavirus pandemic, he’s now devoting his nights and weekends to far more serious emergencies, far outside the park’s borders.
“When it was declared a pandemic, I told myself, ‘as long I am not sick myself and as long as I’m available, I will continue to take shifts and calls,’” Li, 30, told The Post.
“Pretty much every 911 call right now is COVID related. Almost everything. We still have the injuries, the car crashes, but almost everything is a potential COVID call.”
The Queens resident, who also works full-time as a clinical researcher at Northwell Health, is part of the Central Park Medical Unit, a team of 150 volunteer EMTs who typically patrol the park’s 843 acres.
But as emergency calls skyrocket past previous records and hordes of EMTs call out sick, the team has now stepped up to handle emergency calls across Manhattan under the FDNY’s Mutual Aid system.
“We’re working almost 24/7,” Li said. “It’s definitely challenging, physically exhausting, and mentally exhausting knowing that a lot of people are dying.”
The medic, who holds a doctorate in epidemiology, said his unit is used to disaster response, but the coronavirus is a whole different monster.
“We have responded to things like 9/11, Hurricane Sandy, the blackout and the heat wave last summer. And those feel a little different in that those, the risk of me getting infected or injured was low. But this is very real,” Li said.Read More: Timmy Li, URMC Epidemiology PhD Graduate in NY Post as "Hero of the Day"