The U.S. is currently at war against the spread of the coronavirus. At stake is not just lives, but livelihoods.
We have no idea how many people are actually carrying the virus, how many will develop symptoms and how many may die from it.
But we do know who is on the front lines of this battle: our nurses, doctors, and first responders. As they go, so goes our entire health care system.
Per the Washington Post, “in previous outbreaks of infectious disease, and in other countries where the current pandemic arrived earlier, health-care workers have experienced a disproportionate share of infections. They have been put at risk in the United States not only by the nature of their jobs, but by shortages of protective equipment such as N95 face masks along with testing delays.”
An emergency room physician in Kirkland, WA and another in Paterson, NJ have been hospitalized in critical condition with the virus. It’s unclear whether the doctors were infected at work or in their communities.
The Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, MA was forced to hire 54 temporary nurses, after 160 employees were exposed to patients who tested positive and must be quarantined.
St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia had to shut its intensive-care unit to new patients and close a trauma unit after a physician tested positive.
Eight firefighters in San Jose, CA have tested positive for the virus in recent days, according to news accounts. In Kirkland, WA, 42 of 100 members of the fire department and a few police officers were quarantined, some after responding to 911 calls from the Life Care Center nursing home, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak.
It has been difficult if not impossible to estimate how many providers across the country have been exposed to the virus or are carrying it, as no nationwide data has been released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, medical associations or health-care worker unions.
There’s still so much we don’t know. But we do know that nurses, EMTs, and physicians represent the most important line of defense in our nation. If they are unable to provide care, no one will get care.
We’d tell you to “hug a nurse” today, but obviously that’s irresponsible, given the circumstances. But we can all give a hat tip to the health care workers on the front lines of this battle against the coronavirus.
We know our U.S. military service members are called upon to risk their lives on our behalf, and now our civilian nurses, physicians, and first responders have been called upon to literally do the same. God bless them all.
Show Your Support For our Healthcare Workers, LEO, & First Responders, Here: https://nine.li/SupportAmericasHealthcareWorkers