In the first episode, Dr. Hadi Halazun, a 39-year-old cardiologist, talks about being separated from his family as he works at a New York City hospital and has to practice social distancing on his down time.
“One of the tougher parts about this disease is that many of the patients, the sickest ones, are on breathing machines and they are sedated for a very long time, and you never get to meet them,” he says in the episode. “You never get to speak to them. You never get to know who they are, and that is very difficult for doctors and nurses and anyone who is caring for them.”
He also talks about his first patient who died from coronavirus, and how difficult it was to grapple with the fact that, because of social distancing, the patient’s wife could only see him in the last few moments of his life.
“I actually went back to my office and started crying, because it is just not fair,” Halazun says in the episode. “For her, these are her last memories of him, and he had been in the hospital for a week, and all she could hear about his condition over the phone.”
The episodes will feature the audio reflections of others including police officers and paramedics, as well as those still working in the field during the epidemic, including transportation and sanitation workers.
The Essentials is produced by the ABC News Investigative Unit and ABC Audio.
ABC News also has been producing another podcast tied to the coronavirus crisis, COVID-19: What You Need to Know, hosted by correspondent Aaron Katersky and with Q&A sessions with the network’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton. They also do updates on the daily audio podcast Start Here, hosted by Brad Mielke.
New episodes will be available each Saturday for free on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Pandora, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn and the ABC News app.