By Neil A. Carousso
NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — It’s supposed to be the day of new beginnings for baseball fans nationwide, but Major League Baseball’s Opening Day is delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I never imagined not only that it would come to this, but we don’t know what the end-game is,” said Howie Rose, the radio voice of the New York Mets on WCBS 880’s In Depth podcast.
Typically, millions of Americans who have renewed optimism funnel into stadiums nationwide to take in the sights of the freshly cut grass and painted team logo on the field, smell of hot dogs and rich ballpark food, enjoy the taste of a cold beer, embrace family, friends and fellow fans, and get goosebumps at the sounds of the pop of the glove, crack of the bat and Rose’s voice bellowing through the Citi Field public address system as he announces the Mets Opening Day lineup.
But, this is no typical year.
“This is something that a Michael Crichton novel might have been be able to forecast, but apart from that, it’s nothing that we ever could have prepared for,” Rose said regarding businesses, sports, restaurants and all group activities being shut down amid the national health crisis.
He has been taking the extra time to read at his home in Florida. A bit of a history buff, Rose is currently reading “Button Man,” a historical fiction novel written by Andrew Gross about a Jewish family brought together at the inception of the garment business in New York City in the 1930s.
“If anybody’s got any suggestions, throw ’em my way because, as we know, plenty of time to catch up on reading,” he said.
Rose recognizes baseball is not the priority for the country or the world battling a novel virus that has killed tens of thousands of people globally.
“Never mind the health risks and the primary concern being everybody’s physical condition, but how long is it going to be before we can return to any semblance of normalcy?” he pondered. “When does it mean that we have a baseball season, if we have a baseball season? My hope is that we will and my opinion is that any size or any length season is acceptable.”
Rose tells WCBS 880 his “fantasy” is that the COVID-19 pandemic will pass as quickly as it hit, and fans can come together as a nation on the country’s birthday, the 4th of July, to celebrate, and more than ever, reflect on the freedoms Americans are fortunate to have.
His famous call of Mike Piazza‘s home run in the first game back in New York after 9/11 has brought joy to Mets fans in helping the City heal. When asked if America’s Pastime can once again provide respite during a fearful time, Rose said, “I have never been so sure of anything in my life as I am of that.”
Listen to the full conversation with Howie Rose on the 880 In Depth podcast on the RADIO.COM app or wherever you get your podcasts.
By Neil A. Carousso
NEW JERSEY (WCBS 880) – A community is coming together in Chatham and Madison, NJ to support the doctors and nurses on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.
Chatham resident Liz Bernich saw a Facebook post from her friend last week about a group in Huntington, Long Island that delivered food to their local hospital for the staff who are testing and treating patients for COVID-19. She shared the post with the Chatham Community Forum on Facebook to see if there was interest do the same at Morristown Medical Center. She became inundated with messages from people who were interested in supporting the initiative.
“My phone was just lighting up,” Bernich, who is a principal at The Caldwell Partners, told WCBS producer Neil A. Carousso via Skype from her home where she is working while non-essential businesses are shutdown.
Soon after gathering interest from her community, residents in Madison, where her husband works as a high school teacher, contacted her asking if they can volunteer. She launched the Front Line Appreciation Group or FLAG on Facebook to mobilize volunteers and encourage them and first responders to share their experiences with the organically growing group of community members.
Bernich contacted a local restaurant on Friday morning to order take-out for that night. The restaurant was thrilled to have business since Gov. Phil Murphy ordered all restaurants statewide be closed on Monday, except take-out and delivery services, to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Friends connected her with nurses in the emergency room at Morristown Medical Center.
“We found out very quickly that a lot of the folks in the ICU units were being basically locked down in their units during their shifts, so they’re unable to access the cafeteria,” Bernich said.
Nurses and doctors working 12-hour shifts during a global pandemic were ordered not to leave their stations to prevent contamination of other hospital areas, patients and employees.
“You can tell they need the energy, they need the support, they’re stressed, they have different protocols, more to worry about,” said Bernich. “I met with a nurse…she was crying and it’s hard there.”
Medical professionals are also lacking basic supplies, including N95 respirator masks, gloves and gowns to protect themselves from the deadly and highly contagious novel virus. Bernich said she has even collected medical supplies to donate to Morristown Medical Center, but she now encourages people looking to donate supplies to hospitals to do so through government channels.
She personally delivered food to hospital workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak through the weekend. Now, local eateries suffering economically are delivering healthy dinners that FLAG members order.
“You don’t always know how many people you’re connected to that are connected to people on the frontlines until something like this happens and we’ve gotten notes left and right from mothers and nieces and aunts, grandparents, of how much good we’re doing and it just really feels good, feels great,” she said.
Bernich received more than $35,000 dollars in just three days of the Facebook group’s existence.
“Many of those donations are $10 and $20 increments,” she emphasized.
All of the funds are used for food delivery for staff at Morristown Medical Center.
Just like Bernich was inspired by a friend’s post, she hopes people will see what FLAG is doing in Chatham and Madison and spread joy to hospital workers in their communities.
“We’ve already been able to get this up-and-running in Summit, New Jersey to support Overlook hospital, and now, we’re getting this up-and-running in Wycoff, New Jersey,” Bernich said, adding, “When I say ‘we’re getting this up-and-running,’ we’re just inspiring people, we’re not doing any of the leg work, but they’re welcome to use our process.”
Dr. Carol Vidal, M.D., M.P.H., an adolescent psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins University, speaks with WCBS’ Neil A. Carousso about how you can talk with your children about COVID-19 and protecting those who are most vulnerable in your family.
By Neil A. Carousso
NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – Concern is growing over equipment shortages in hospitals.
“Ventilators are to this war what missiles were to World War II,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo Friday morning.
Cuomo says New York State urgently needs 30,000 ventilators to treat the rising number of coronavirus cases and is asking medical offices to sell unused medical supplies to the State Health Department. He has also called on the federal government to act to get thousands more ventilators in hospitals nationwide.
“Rosie the Rivertor. We need ventilators. That is the key piece of equipment. We can get the beds. We’ll get the supplies, but the ventilator is a specific piece of equipment. These are people with respiratory illnesses,” Cuomo pleaded.
Companies who are able to sell unused medical supplies can call (646) 522-8477 or email COVID19supplies@esd.ny.gov.
“At the end of this when patients are suffering from respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia and respiratory failure that can occur, the only way to keep them alive is to get them on a ventilator and support their respiratory system that way,” said Dr. Brian Bezack, a pediatric pulmonologist based in Commack, Long Island. “As more people are getting tested and more people are getting sick with the virus as it spreads, those more severe cases are the ones that end up in our ICUs and the ones that need the ventilators and we need to have them on hand.”
This is Dr. Bezack’s busy season when children suffering with asthma come in with serious respiratory symptoms exacerbated by the cold air. The past few weeks, he has been inundated with questions based on misinformation surrounding COVID-19 and how it impacts asthmatics.
“I had a patient call me the other day and say, ‘You know, I’ve been reading about asthma, and since my child is on steroids, steroids are not good and it lowers your immune system, and so, I want to take them off their asthma medication,’” Dr. Bezack recalled. “To me, that was probably the most dangerous thing I had heard.”
He emphasized inhaled steroids do not lower one’s immune system. The biggest way for people who have asthma to fight coronavirus or any respiratory illness, Dr. Bezack said, is to have as close to 100 percent control over one’s asthma.