Doctor Embraces Coronavirus Patient on Thanksgiving in Heartbreaking Viral Photo

The coronavirus pandemic continues to be a grave problem for those in the United States. Understandably, Americans across the country are feeling the effects of the pandemic, none more so than those on the frontlines who are doing everything they can to keep this situation under control. As PEOPLE noted, over the Thanksgiving holiday, a photo went viral in which a doctor, in full protective gear, can be seen hugging a COVID-19 patient amidst the ongoing health crisis.

The photo in question was taken on Thanksgiving. It depicts Dr. Joseph Varon, wearing full personal protective equipment, cradling an elderly patient who is suffering from COVID-19. The photo was taken in the intensive care unit of Houston's United Memorial Health Center and also marked Varon's 252nd straight day of working in the hospital. During an interview with CNN's New Day, the doctor explained what life has been like at the hospital over the past several months amid the health crisis.

"For the last few days, we've had a steady increase in the number of cases," Varon explained. "There is no question that patients are coming in ... sicker because they are waiting longer to go to the hospital." He added, "Unfortunately, my concern for the next six-to-twelve weeks is that if we don't do things right, America is going to see the darkest days in modern American medical history." Varon continued to explain that his hospital is already at capacity. Given that cases could rise after many Americans still gathered over Thanksgiving, it could pose a great problem for medical care workers across the country.

"My hospital is full. I just opened two new wings so that I can accommodate for the next few days because I know that a lot of people are going to get sick after Thanksgiving," he added. The toll of treating patients with COVID-19 has been a "never-ending story" for Varon and other medical professionals. The doctor continued, "My nurses in the middle of the day, they will start crying ... When they finish finally getting a patient in, they get a phone call from the ER that there is another patient that is being admitted. How have I done it? I don't know. I'm running out of fumes."