Like superheroes, they answered the call for a city in distress.

"I am a lifelong New Yorker and I am really fortunate even in retirement to have a way to give back to the city,” said Dr. Jane Bedell.

Dr. Jane Bedell is one of the tens of thousands of retired health care workers who have volunteered to jump into the city's deepening health crisis.

She says her long career as a primary care physician and then as commissioner of the Bronx office of the Department of Health made her decision to come out of retirement easy.

Bedell is 63 years old and a cancer survivor.

"I feel honestly an out pouring of love for the city and for the people and wanting to be a part of something that is going to be of help," Bedell added.

Statewide, more than 78,000 doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals have enlisted in the fight against the coronavirus.

Many of the volunteers are finalizing their paperwork and awaiting their assignment, like retired anesthesiologist George Weinhouse who is 67.

"Anything we can do will go a long way and I am very happy to be able to do it and I think everyone who does this feels the same way," said Weinhouse.

Bronx Assemblywoman Karines Reyes, a nurse, has started working 12 hour shifts at Montifore Medical Center in the Bronx.

"I don't need to be retrained on the floor, I don't need to be retrained on the systems. I can literally just walk in and get to work. I think that is what they are looking for, that is what they needed and how can I say no,” said Reyes.

But with their desire to help comes risk.

As hospitals struggle to secure masks and other protective equipment.. an unsettling number of healthcare professionals are falling ill.

Many of the volunteers are older than 60, a group that faces a higher risk of complications from the virus.

Officials say their deployment will be sensitive to those risks.

For example, some volunteers will answer hot lines or work in administrative jobs, freeing up the medical professionals in those jobs to work with patients.

Volunteers acknowledge some anxiety about their return.

"I think you put your health at risk just crossing the street in New York City, but yeah I do give it a thought, but I am not going to let that stop me," said Weinhouse.

Volunteers putting themselves on the line for patients in need.