NEWARK, NJ – Saint Michael’s Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Hamid Shaaban has been sounding the alarm in regional and national media about the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color.
Dr. Shaaban has appeared on NBC-4, The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC and NBC Nightly News with Lester Hold to discuss how COVID-19 is impacting the hospital, located in the heart of an urban community.
Newark has the highest number of COVID-19 patients in the state with 3,167 cases as of April 15. Nearly every bed in Saint Michael’s is filled with COVID-19 patients.
“In the past couple of weeks, it’s been very hectic,” Dr. Shaaban told the Rachel Maddow show on April 8. “The emergency room, our hospital has been inundated with a lot of admissions. We’re anticipating the surge this week. I’m not going to lie to you, it is a source of concern.”
Dr. Shaaban said though New Jersey had two weeks of social distancing, the numbers of patients with COVID-19 continues to increase.
In the face of PPE (personal protective equipment) shortages, staffing shortages, it’s a challenge,” Dr. Shaaban said. “But we are rising up to the challenge and we understand what our role is.”
NBC-4, the NBC affiliate in New York City, did a segment on April 8 Dr. Shaaban in which he kept a diary for several days. The segment focused on how COVID-19 takes a higher toll on minority communities.
“At Saint Michael’s Medical Center in Newark, one doctor took us to the front lines of his battle to save the people who were already at a disadvantage,” said Chris Glorioso, introducing the segment. “Dr. Hamid Shaaban is a physician of color working in Newark, NJ, a city that is more than 80 percent minority. One of his observations is the ruthless way coronavirus is attacking poor African- and Hispanic-Americans.”
Dr. Shaaban told NBC-4 that the “viral pandemic is intersecting with two epidemics that are already taking place – the epidemic of homelessness and the epidemic of epidemic of obesity.”
In an appearance on April 14, Dr. Shaaban shared a segment with Oprah Winfrey, who also sounded the alarm about the impact of COVID-19 on the African-American Community.