Lack of PPE

As of Jan. 31, the United States had been declared in a state of emergency by the Secretary of Health and Human Services due to Covid-19 (White House). 

Soon after many states have been put on quarantine and were given strict stay at home orders, in hopes of containing the rapid spread of Covid-19.

Many have argued that the US was in no way prepared to handle such a pandemic, even though we were given enough time to. 

LeAnn Donathan-Studevant, a certified occupational therapy assistant at All About Care Homehealth company, when asked if she thought we, as a nation, were prepared for this pandemic, said “No, we as a nation are too complacent.” 

Beginning early April, some Americans have started to “protest” the government for the stay at home orders, while many put their lives at risk to battle Covid-19 in the front lines. 

As of April, over 9,000 healthcare workers have reported to have fallen ill with Covid-19, with at least 27 healthcare workers’ deaths reported from Covid-19 (Business Insider).

Yet the rates of healthcare workers who have been infected from Covid-19 only continues to grow.

Alesha Schwarzschild, a registered nurse, at James River Homehealth Company, said, “I have not seen any PPE [personal protective equipment] that has come from our government, so I feel like it is not being handled well.” 

While the majority of the government has focused on the economic side of this pandemic, they have turned their heads on the healthcare workers who are put in high-risk situations without enough PPE.

Recently, an investigation into the government’s claim to have delivered one billion pieces of PPE, has been found out to be falsified as government officials have counted each individual glove, instead of pairs, in order to reach one billion count (The Telegraph).

China produces about half the world’s face masks, so production has come to a halt within China as they recover from Covid-19 themselves (The New England Journal of Medicine).

With one of the most producing-filled countries also left to recover from the leftover “ash” of Covid-19 the US is left in even more harm’s way. 

On a recently past interview with Executive Director Bonnie Castillo, a registered nurse, on National Nurses United, she said “RNs have been reusing N95 respirator masks, which “endangers nurses’ lives” and “many employers have turned to decontaminating and reusing disposable N95 filtering facepiece respirators multiple times and for multiple shifts.”

During an Oval Office event on May 12, which was meant to recognize National Nurses Day, Sophia Thomas, president of the National Association of Nurse Practitioners and who works at the Daughters of Charity Health System in Louisiana, had said, “PPE had been sporadic” and that “we do what we have to do [as nurses].”

US President who had at a previous conference, in February referred to the Coronavirus as “[the Democrat’s] new hoax” and that “[his] administration had taken the most aggressive acts in history to prevent the spread in the United States,” (NBC News) while just days before he had signed the bill that had cut $1.35 billion in funding for the prevention and Public Health Fund at the CDC, (Just Security) had responded to Thomas and said, “[PPE is] sporadic for you but not sporadic for a lot of other people.” (USA Today)

Donathan-Studevant showed the amount of PPE she would need to treat positive patients during the normal workweek and said, “If I see six patients a day for five days a week that’s 30 patients so about 300 pieces of PPE, double just in case of tears.”

While in reality, she said that she has “a bare minimum” and she is “expect[ed] to reuse.”

Schwarzschild said, “[Working with patients who tested positive for Covid-19] had made me reconsider my career after 23 years of being a nurse.”

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