It’s even more alarming than charts of rising corona cases: three Mount Sinai West nurses standing in a hospital hallway, wearing black Hefty trash bags over their scrubs. “NO MORE GOWNS IN THE WHOLE HOSPITAL,” one healer captioned the Facebook photo. “NO MORE MASKS AND REUSING THE DISPOSABLE ONES. NURSES FIGURING IT OUT DURING COVID-19 CRISIS.”
Health workers are on the front lines, risking their lives (and their loved ones’, should they bring the bug home) as they fight to save others. They deserve better — as do their patients.
Every level of government needs to go all-out to get these heroes the personal protective equipment they need. It’s literally a life-and-death matter.
Nurses blame the shortage situation for the death of one of their own: Mount Sinai West’s assistant nursing manager, Kious Kelly, 48, turned hospital patient March 17 after testing positive for COVID-19 and died Tuesday night.
At least four of his coworkers also tested positive. Nurses complain they get one gown a day to treat multiple patients, seriously boosting the chances they’ll spread the virus.
What happened? America had come to rely on China almost exclusively for masks, gowns and other gear — then China shut down, and kept what it had for its own crisis. Panicking preppers hoarded masks and other supplies early on, while federal regulations (which Team Trump is waiving as fast as it can) slow moves to replace Chinese production.
If you have a glove or mask hoard, donate it now. N95 masks made for construction-industry use are now kosher for medical purposes, too: Every bit helps.
Some 40,000 health-care workers have answered Gov. Cuomo’s call to come out of retirement or the private sector to help hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. The least the rest of us can do is find all these heroes the tools they need to keep up their life-saving work.
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