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‘How did your hospital reward you for being essential, and what type of pizza was it?’


The Thanksgiving dishes are finally off the table. The super-spreader celebrations are giving way to the holiday-shopping frenzy, the pandemic edition. And New York City’s frontline medical workers are steeling themselves for what’s looking increasingly inevitable: a cold-weather wave of COVID-19 cases crashing down on them.

“We still haven’t recovered from what we went through earlier in the year,” said Carmen De Leon, a respiratory therapist at Harlem Hospital whose long, frantic spring of ventilators and intubations was interrupted only when she too contracted the virus. “We faced an awful lot of dying and an overwhelming amount of grief.”

The single mom of a…


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