I Survived Ebola. I Fear COVID-19

ER Doctor Craig Spencer is on the front lines in New York City to help slow down the spread of coronavirus

Doctors Without Borders
4 min readMar 24, 2020


Dr. Craig Spencer is a Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) board member and aid worker. He’s currently the Director of Global Health in Emergency Medicine at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. In 2014, he was on the front lines of the West Africa Ebola outbreak in Guinea fighting to save lives.

He’s also an Ebola survivor. And now he’s working in the emergency room on the front lines of the coronovirus pandemic in New York — at the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States.

On Tuesday morning, he got home after another long shift in a New York hospital. He took to Twitter to let people know just how real the threat of coronavirus is — and to remind everyone to “Do your part. Stay home. Stay safe.”

Walk in for your 8am shift: Immediately struck by how the calm of the early morning city streets is immediately transformed. The bright fluorescent lights of the ER reflect off everyone’s protective goggles. There is a cacophony of coughing.

You stop.

Mask up.

Walk in.

You take sign out from the previous team, but nearly every patient is the same, young & old: Cough, shortness of breath, fever. They are really worried about one patient. Very short of breath, on the maximum amount of oxygen we can give, but still breathing fast.

You’re notified of another really sick patient coming in.

You rush over. They’re also extremely sick, vomiting. They need to be put on life support as well.

You bring them back. Two patients, in rooms right next to each other, both getting a breathing tube.

It’s not even 10am yet.



Doctors Without Borders

Medical aid org working globally to assist people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe. http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org