Topol: US Betrays Healthcare Workers in Coronavirus Disaster
It’s bad enough that the United States was totally unprepared for a pandemic and has such an unimaginable shortage of requisite resources. But the situation still gets worse. On a widespread basis, doctors and nurses are being gagged and muzzled by administrators for expressing their concerns, and penalized or even fired when they do speak out.
Meanwhile, the unconscionable lack of COVID-19 testing has continued in this second phase. And with that, systematic testing of the workforce has yet to start, despite being desperately needed.
The Third Phase: Healthcare Professionals Broadly Infected and Dying
Back in Wuhan, Li Wenliang, a 33-year-old ophthalmologist, was one, if not the first, doctor to alert people in China of the outbreak. He died on February 7, 2020. But he certainly wasn’t the youngest doctor to die in China. Xia Sisi, a 29-year-old gastroenterologist, also died after a 35-day hospitalization.
Yet on March 11, from the Oval Office, President Trump stated, “Young and healthy people can expect to recover fully and quickly.”
By late March more than 54 doctors in Italy had already died, and in the Lombardy region of northern Italy, one of the worst hit regions in the world, 20% of the healthcare workforce have become confirmed cases. Now, in the United States, as large numbers of healthcare professionals are getting diagnosed with COVID-19 in Boston, New York, and other hotspot cities, young doctors are writing their wills and making provisional funeral plans.
COVID-19 was not supposed to kill young people, but young nurses and doctors are dying in the United States. There are many theories as to why this is happening, perhaps the best one is the viral load — the mass of COVID-19 inoculum.
Because healthcare workers are exposed to the sickest patients — often without access to the proper protective equipment — the heavy viral load may be overwhelming even young clinicians’ ability to mount a sufficient immune response to counter the infection.
That doctors and clinicians are succumbing to the virus is beyond a tragedy, as many of these dedicated individuals are dying unnecessarily, as a result of the no-testing and no-PPE fiascos.
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