New York (AFP) – Medical staff in America’s coronavirus hotbed New York are struggling with long hours and a dire need for protective equipment — and as infections surge, they increasingly fear for their own safety. Doctors and nurses are working around the clock caring for patients hit by the fast-spreading infection, risking their lives on the front lines of the global crisis. The same week the United States became the new epicenter of the pandemic — with about 120,000 confirmed cases of infection and 2,000 deaths — Kious Kelly, a nurse manager at a Manhattan hospital, succumbed to a fatal case of the COVID-19 illness.
The death of the 48-year-old crystallized fears of many medical workers who’ve lamented severe shortages of necessary supplies, including plastic protective gowns and hospital-grade masks. “It’s abysmal,” said Andrew, a psychiatry resident in a New York hospital who spoke on condition his name be changed. He is now quarantined at home with a likely case of the virus himself. “There’s not enough money, there aren’t enough tests, there’s not enough personal protective equipment (PPE) for people who are dealing with this — not just the doctors, but nurses, ancillary staff, janitors — everyone in the hospital who are getting huge exposure to the virus,” he told AFP in an interview punctuated by coughs.
About 20 health care workers protested their working conditions on Saturday morning outside the city’s Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx. “We risk our lives to save yours,” one of their signs said, appealing for “#PPENow” — masks, goggles, gloves and other protective gear. Diana Torres, a former colleague of the late Kelly at New York’s Mount Sinai hospital group, said hospital staff are “devastated” that he “paid the ultimate price.” The mother of three told AFP there are units of the hospital filled to the brim with coronavirus patients. She works in a rehabilitation section of the facility and personally has handled at least three patients known to have the virus — perhaps more, as a lack of testing makes it impossible to be sure. –Yahoo News
A crippling shortage of protective gear has left NHS staff “lambs to the slaughter,” a worried medic has said. The warning came as two doctors became the first frontline workers to die from coronavirus in the UK and the national death toll hit 1,019. The new figure followed 260 deaths – the biggest daily leap. Of those, 13 were reportedly healthy adults with no underlying condition. Medics liken scenes in Britain’s hospitals to war zones.
According to the BBC, one NHS nurse said we were ‘told to close our eyes if a patient coughs’ because there is a serious shortage of protective face gear. And a nurse said some colleagues without adequate protection are refusing to treat patients, for fear of spreading the disease further. The NHS needs many millions of PPE kits – personal protection equipment. Masks are meant to be used only once to avoid the risk of transmitting disease – but there aren’t enough so staff re-use them.
The developments came as virus-hit PM Boris Johnson penned a letter to the nation’s 30 million households warning Britain needed to slow the spread of the disease. Mr Johnson – said by No10 to have “mild symptoms and well enough to be working” – chaired yesterday’s Covid-19 meeting by video conference. His letter, accompanied by an advice leaflet and written while he is self-isolating in the flat above 11 Downing Street, will cost £5.8million to send. It will say: “If too many people become seriously unwell, the NHS will be unable to cope.
This will cost lives. We must slow the spread, reduce the number needing treatment. “It’s important for me to level with you. We know things will get worse before they get better. –Mirror UK