New York, NY – As the coronavirus pandemic spreads, so are the efforts of people who bring much-needed aid — and inspiration — to those in need.

Some of them, previously recognized as CNN Heroes for their work to fix problems in their communities, now find themselves helping stem the tide of the virus.

Dr. Rob Gore, an emergency physician at Kings County Hospital Center and SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, is on the front lines of the crisis. A CNN Hero in 2018 for his violence prevention initiative, KAVI, right now he’s focused on his day job: providing medical care to his community.

“Covid-19, aka coronavirus, aka ‘Rona’ — what we call it in my neighborhood — it’s pretty scary,” Gore told CNN. “I’m not going to lie. It’s scary times.”

New York City is now considered the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States, with about 60% of the new cases in the country. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the state is experiencing an “astronomical surge” in cases, which are now doubling every three days.

“I’ve worked in disaster zones in the past,” Gore said, noting his relief work in post-earthquake Haiti, South America and East Africa. “This feels like it’s a culmination of all of them.”

For Gore, this crisis isn’t a typical natural disaster, like Haiti’s 2010 earthquake, but he said he sees similarities in terms of lack of resources, access to care, and fear. Shortages of equipment such as ventilators, gloves and masks have been widely reported in New York City.

Tents are set up outside Gore’s hospital to assess and contain Covid-19 cases. And Gore is now living at an Airbnb to avoid infecting his family. For how long? He’s not sure.

“Right now with coronavirus, we don’t know how many patients are going to keep coming in,” he said. “We don’t know when it’s going to end.”

Click here to go to the CNN news story to see what other heroes are doing to fight the pandemic.