Twenty-five hundred doctors—mostly Hispanic immigrants—led by Dr. Ramon Tallaj, president of the SOMOS Community Care medical association, are now becoming heroes in the fight against the coronavirus in New York
When the epidemic arrived in this city, where the COVID-19 death toll has already surpassed 2,300, this Hispanic doctor from the Dominican Republic urged all the doctors who are part of his organization to close their private practices and turn the focus of their health care outwards, to the four corners of New York City.
This is allowing the doctors of SOMOS to attend to the city’s inhabitants—especially the most vulnerable and needy—in this very serious health emergency, cooperating decisively in the implementation of government health policies.
The immediate reaction of these doctors has allowed the establishment of mass testing centers in Queens and the Bronx. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, diagnosis is one of the most effective weapons for counteracting the advance of the virus.
The availability of SOMOS doctors has also allowed for the implementation of a telemedicine network that has been able to attend to more than one million Medicaid patients. Thus, they’ve helped avoid many visits to hospital emergency units, thus reducing congestion in those facilities. The doctors have been referring symptomatic patients to the aforementioned test centers, performing medical triage with COVID-19 positive patients, and classifying them by age or concomitant diseases, etc.
The two testing centers for COVID-19 coronavirus established by the SOMOS foundation, directed by Dr. Tallaj, pay for and provide biosafety kits to health personnel and even food for patients, employees and military personnel involved in this initiative to provide health care assistance.
To avoid the paralysis of the economy and of stock market operations, SOMOS offered and carried out free COVID-19 tests for all the employees of the Wall Street Stock Exchange. This made it possible to diagnose approximately 30 employees as being positive for the new coronavirus.
This week of voluntary service in the Stock Exchange resulted in the institution’s managers calling upon representatives of SOMOS to open the stock market session, as an expression of recognition and gratitude for the medical service which they had carried out with spontaneity and generosity.
This work is being carried out by foreign-born doctors—Hispanic, and mostly Dominican—who, with no other payment than the satisfaction of serving, are on the front line of containing and mitigating the crisis, accepting all the personal risks that the pandemic entails.
In fact, there have already been deaths and seriousl illness among doctors in New York, including two doctors who are children of Dr. Tallaj, who have had to fight to survive the coronavirus.
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Tallaj and the Hispanic doctors at SOMOS are responding with a “pandemic of hope,” as they like to say.