From Providers to Patients

A nurse protests the lack of protective gear at UCI Medical Center in Orange, California. April 3, 2020. Image: Mario Tama/Getty
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A nurse protests the lack of protective gear at UCI Medical Center in Orange, California. April 3, 2020. Image: Mario Tama/Getty

Scrambling for masks at local hardware stores. Reusing masks first for a day, then for a week. Forced to work sick or fight for a test.

Updating their wills.
 
Health workers on COVID-19’s frontlines are heading into the battle of their lives without the protection they need. From those already working in New York’s overwhelmed ICUs to others watching with growing dread waiting for the virus to hit, they need more than applause.

“I feel like we’re all just being sent to slaughter,” Thomas Riley, a nurse at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx who contracted the virus, tells The New York Times.

Working long shifts with inadequate protection, they're seeing their fellow health workers fall sick—and they're being asked to keep treating patients when they're sick themselves. “We’re definitely contaminating pregnant mothers that we’re assessing and possibly discharging home,” said one doctor.

More than 200 medical organizations and health advocacy groups sent a letter to the Trump administration demanding masks, face shields and gowns for health workers, as well as ventilators and other critical supplies.

A group of physicians led by Nisha Mehta launched a Change.org petition urging Congress to take up their Covid-19 Pandemic Physician Protection Act.

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