On Palm Sunday, Paterson Pays Tribute to Dr. Pruden, Nurses, COVID-19 Warriors


Diagnosed with COVID-19, St. Joseph’s Hospital Dr. James Pruden needed a ventilator to stay alive, and

Dr. Pruden
Dr. Pruden

today, emergency medical personnel from all over Passaic County paraded past his hospital room in a sign of solidarity and appreciation for him and his fellow medical staff and support personnel at the hard-hit frontline Paterson hospital.

“We are stronger than COVID-19,” said Mayor Andre Sayegh, who stood in the street outside the doctor’s hospital room with a palm leaf in honor of Palm Sunday, and expressed his gratitude to the doctors, nurses and firefighters that continue to battle the deadly virus.

“It’s a very emotional moment, and a draining and challenging situation but we are not alone,” said Sayegh.

On Friday, the mayor announced two additional deaths due to COVID-19


in his city.Two Paterson men, ages 43 and 58, died due to the coronavirus, bringing the city’s total number of deaths to nine, Sayegh said. Paterson on the same day had reported 620 COVID-19 cases.

Dr. Pruden is recovering from the virus, the mayor said.

“He is watching us, just as God is watching us as well on Palm Sunday,” Sayegh said.  “He is the symbol of strength in our city right now.”

Joined outside the hospital by Police Director Jerry Speziale, the mayor led a sustained and emotional round of applause for nurses who appeared in the street between shifts as the war goes on.

“Let’s hear it for the nurses,” Sayegh yelled.

“We are greater than COVID.”

A sign appeared in the hands of a woman amid the blare of horns from emergency vehicles.

“We are greater than COVID.”

Sayegh pointed it out.

“I’m looking for little moments of hope,” said the mayor, visibly moved as the nurses marched past and Dr. Pruden, from his hospital room, kept watch.

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