March 30, 2020 / By Janelle Griffith
Shelly Kelly, a nurse practitioner from Tulsa, Oklahoma, never imagined that on her first trip to New York City, she would be unable to visit some of the area’s biggest attractions.
“I had no idea that on my first trip to New York I wouldn’t be able to see a Broadway show. I wouldn’t be able to go out to all the nice restaurants I’ve heard about. I wouldn’t be able to see people around Times Square. It’s completely different,” said Kelly, who landed in New York on Sunday.
Instead, Kelly will be among a few dozen nurses and doctors from Samaritan’s Purse, a nondenominational evangelical Christian humanitarian organization, working at a field hospital set up in Central Park — across the street from Mount Sinai Hospital — for patients battling COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The organization is led by Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham.
On Sunday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged to use every place needed to help people.
“This is the kind of thing you will see now as this crisis develops,” he told reporters while discussing the field hospital in Central Park.