American doctors and healthcare workers have been at the forefront of confronting the CCP coronavirus epidemic. They identify infected people, monitor their condition, and nurse them back to health. Taking on such a risky job, these healthcare workers are now at risk of being infected with the very virus they are fighting against. The shortage of essential supplies like masks and ventilators also poses a problem.
The dilemma of medical professionals
In a single day in mid-March, about 1,000 doctors in New York responded to the city’s call for more medical help for coronavirus testing and care. They went to join the 9,000 medical professionals who were already part of the Medical Reserve Corps that is deployed in times of emergency.
“We’re hoping to get more… We have reached out to retired doctors and nurses and will be continuing to promote this… This is the first time we’ve done this. This is the first time we’ve built a staffing pool like this,” Herman Schaffer, the assistant commissioner for community outreach at the city’s Office of Emergency Management, said to the New York Post.
While doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals are doing their part, many are getting infected with the CCP coronavirus in the process. Dr. Gaurav Malhotra is a 40-year-old medical professional from New York who contracted COVID-19 while at his job. Quarantining himself at home, the doctor even prepared his will. He had worn N95 respirators while engaging with coronavirus patients. Even then, Dr. Malhotra ended up with the virus, highlighting how some small lapses in safety protocol can turn deadly.
“Part of our job is to deal with death on a daily basis… Now it was me doing it about myself,” he said to The Wall Street Journal. One of the reasons Dr. Malhotra believes it is tough for healthcare workers to avoid the virus is the fact that the microbe basically remains in the environment. So if someone were to religiously wear an N95 mask near patients but remove it in general public areas where an infected person may have coughed or touched an object some time back, they stand the risk of contracting the disease.
The lack of a sufficient number of COVID-19 testing kits, oxygen tanks, drugs, ventilators, etc., are also weighing down on the healthcare workers. The shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for medical staff means that more doctors and nurses are at risk of being infected. This will cut down the number of medical experts available to treat the CCP coronavirus victims and worsen the problem.
The U.S. “officially” has the highest number of CCP coronavirus infected people, with more than 124,000 cases and 2,230 deaths. While China lists itself as only having 81,400 infected people, their data is completely unreliable. In the U.S., New York alone accounts for almost half the infected people. Other states most impacted by the virus are Connecticut and New Jersey.
The CDC issued an advisory warning residents of the three states to “refrain from nonessential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately. This Domestic Travel Advisory does not apply to employees of critical infrastructure industries, including but not limited to trucking, public health professionals, financial services, and food supply.”
Ambulance services in New York have been pushed to their breaking point. Almost 20 percent of the ambulance workers in the city are estimated to be ill from the coronavirus. The regional Emergency Medical Services are receiving thousands of calls and are finding it difficult to service all of them. Officials worry that the proportion of EMS employees sick from the virus could hit 30 percent, putting the ambulance services under even more strain.