October 6, 2021

It had already been a long week for the Cooking for children when Dr Corwin Warmink, Medical Director of Emergency Services, spoke to a Zoom gallery of reporters in early September.

Each year during his 18 years at Cook Children’s, he said, his team expects an “increase” in the number of back-to-school visitors – around 300 children per day. But on Monday, two days before this virtual press conference, they were more than 600. About half of them were children with diseases or problems related to COVID-19.

“We are running one of the biggest, meanest and busiest emergencies in the country at 300 (visitors),” he said. “And we went up to 400 and even 500 in the past, but at 600 we are physically unable to take care of the children in a timely manner.”

He was tired and angry. He urged parents to get vaccinated, wear masks and demand the same from their children. As he finished, his voice was heard. “I got paid – and everything in my training and my career – was so as not to panic,” he said. “But I’m panicking.”

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