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The COVID-19 Surge, According To Frontline Workers

A medical staff member works on a computer as the number on the wall indicates the days since the hospital opened its COVID-19 unit at United Memorial Medical center in Houston, Texas.
A medical staff member works on a computer as the number on the wall indicates the days since the hospital opened its COVID-19 unit at United Memorial Medical center in Houston, Texas.

Despite previous warnings from health officials, cases of coronavirus are surging across the country.  Daily new coronavirus cases have topped 160,000, according to data by Johns Hopkins University. Now, states are amping up restrictions and reversing plans to reopen even further. Some hospitals, and the people that work in them, are running on fumes.

Some nurses and doctors on the frontline say they’re once again overwhelmed and short on personal protective equipment.

From  The Atlantic’s Ed Yong:

Hospitals have put their pandemic plans into action, adding more beds and creating makeshift COVID-19 wards. But in the hardest-hit areas, there are simply not enough doctors, nurses, and other specialists to staff those beds. Some health-care workers told me that COVID-19 patients are the sickest people they’ve ever cared for: They require twice as much attention as a typical intensive-care-unit patient, for three times the normal length of stay. “It was doable over the summer, but now it’s just too much,” says Whitney Neville, a nurse based in Iowa. “Last Monday we had 25 patients waiting in the emergency department. They had been admitted but there was no one to take care of them.” I asked her how much slack the system has left. “There is none,” she said.

Find all our coverage of the COVID-19 crisis here.

What do frontline workers need to help keep us safe and healthy? What are they seeing where they are?

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