“I try to explain that his breathing is getting worse and he’s getting tired because of it,” said Dr. Meredith Jones, an emergency room physician at Brookdale Hospital Medical Center in Brooklyn. “That puts a strain on the body, and sometimes it’s best to take that strain off and let the ventilator do the breathing for you.”

They ask, “How long will this last?” Or, “Will I die?”

We hope you will wake up in a week or two, say the doctors who believe in giving hope. Others just say, “We don’t know.”

But the doctors generally offer the same advice before proceeding. “Now is the time to call your loved ones and tell them all the things you want to say,” one doctor at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell hospital said he tells his coronavirus patients before they are intubated. “I’ll come back in 15 minutes.”