Real Heroes of COVID-19 Pandemic: The Healthcare Workers
While the world at large is under the siege of shutdowns, lockdowns and curfews, Doctors, Nurses and other Healthcare workers are at the battlefront to ward off the onslaught of the dreaded Novel Coronavirus 2019, the invisible enemy.
These are the people who are working tirelessly around the clock, both with and without adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), to provide lifesaving supportive care to those suffering from COVID-19 as well as other ailments in the present unchartered times. Medical fraternity faces a chaotic workplace environment with long hours, changing protocols, potential medical supplies shortages and risks to their personal health and of their loved ones back home.
In order to protect their families, many of them have had to isolate themselves for days on end. One of the most striking example was a nurse by the name of Cao Shan from Wuhan China, the place of origin of COVID-19. She worked in the isolation ward of Wuhan’s Jinyintan Hospital, designated for Coronavirus patients. She and her husband, a Doctor, also working at the hospital slept in their vehicle for 23 nights to avoid spreading the virus around, save commuting time and give their assigned nearby hotel room to their colleagues. Such stories abound around the globe.
With the schools shut, taking care of homebound children where both parents work in the healthcare industry has become another challenge for the medical fraternity. For such couples finding baby sitters has become a nightmare. A lot of these baby sitters refuse to work in such households due to the fear of catching of COVID-19.
Many of the healthcare workers are themselves high risk on account of their age, diabetes or other prevailing health issues. The essentials of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are in short supply across most of the hospitals world over. The healthcare workers are being told to reuse masks after sterilization or share other PPEs. Some of the nurses have turned to Facebook and other social media asking for help from their communities.
The contribution of the medical fraternity towards the survival of humanity in this hour of need cannot be appreciated until and unless we are in the know of certain statistics. These statistics give a fair idea of the causalities of war against Coronavirus.
According to South China Morning post, as of March 4, 2020, nearly 3400 Chinese healthcare workers got infected with the virus and 13 of them are no more. The dead include Dr. Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist who was censored by Chinese authorities after he warned the colleagues about the new virus. Another fatal casualty was a 29 year old doctor who postponed his wedding in order to take care of his patients in the face of this outbreak.
As per National Health Institute, in Italy more than 4800 healthcare workers have tested positive for Coronavirus, accounting for about 9% of the total cases in that country. As given by the Italian National Federation of Surgeons and Dentists, at least eighteen doctors have died while treating patients of COVID-19, since March 11, 2020. The dead include Dr. Marcello Natali, who worked for days without protective gloves as the supplies in his hospital ran out and contracted double pneumonia. Astonishingly, as per business insider, Italy was not producing medical masks on their own and was importing largely from China and other countries. With the spread of this pandemic and sealing of borders, the supplies of such medical essentials have become scarce.
From American Coronavirus hotspots such as Kirkland, Washington where four dozen staffers from a single nursing home tested positive, to the spreads in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, California and elsewhere, the virus is not sparing the doctors, nurses and others needed in this rapidly evolving crisis. As per Washington Post dated March 17, 2020, an anonymous Federal official said that the government has received reports of more than sixty infections among healthcare workers. This is the tip of the iceberg. Two Emergency Physicians in New Jersey, USA were hospitalized in critical condition with COVID-19. In Pittsfield, Massachusetts, 160 employees of Berkshire Medical Centre have been quarantined at home after exposure to the patients of COVID-19. The reality is that healthcare workers have suffered illness and others have lost lives, not to mention the mental trauma such incidents cause to them, to their families and their fellow workers. In this hour of crisis, as the sea of humanity joins to fight this deadly enemy, let the real heroes of the war, the medical professionals not be forgotten and their contributions at the frontline should not go unrecognized and unappreciated.
At the end, all men and women, boys and girls, young and old need to come together to pay tribute to the medical professionals for their sacrifices in fighting the deadly diseases for the survival of humanity.
As always the Healthcare workers are the real heroes of all pandemics and epidemics.
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