A new ad campaign from more than 100 of the nation’s healthcare systems urges the American public to wear masks. The campaign includes print advertising and a black-and-white video showing photographs of exhausted health workers.
The ad ends with a simple message: “Use. A mask. “- one that captures the frustration and anxiety of healthcare workers who feel the public is ignoring their pleas to work together to curb the spread of Covid-19. Together, the signatories represent thousands of individual hospitals .
More than 11.5 million Americans have been diagnosed with Covid-19 and more than 250,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. Coronavirus Resource Center. More than 76,000 people are hospitalized, the highest number in the entire pandemic, according to the Covid monitoring project.
“As the best hospitals ranked nationally, we know that it is difficult for all of us to do our part and continue to wear masks. But this is what we also know: science has not changed. Masks slow the spread of Covid-19, ”reads the public service announcement.
So join us as we all accept this simple question: Use. Watch out. Share with #MaskUp. Together, carrying is caring. And together, we are saving lives ”.
The announcement comes just before the Thanksgiving holiday, when families traditionally gather indoors, and when many health experts worry, there will be an explosion of new cases of Covid-19. It also comes almost a year after the pandemic, and healthcare workers face severe burnout.
“We’re depressed, discouraged and tired to the bone,” said Alison Johnson, director of intensive care at Johnson City Medical Center in Tennessee, adding that some days she drives to and from work crying.
Even before the Christmas gatherings, the pandemic is the worst in many parts of the country. A hospital in Reno, Nevada moved some coronavirus patients into its parking lot. Kansas hospitals have converted cafeterias and chapels into patient care units.
“We are doing our best and we still do not have time to provide the level of care that our patients deserve and need,” said nurse Zo Schmidt, in a protest in Overland Park, Kansas this week.
Schmidt’s hospital, part of the for-profit hospital group HCA Healthcare, cut staffing in June to what the National Nurses United union described as “unsafe” levels. “During a historic pandemic, we need more nurses, not fewer. I’ve seen a mass exodus of nurses and more are planning to leave, ”said Schmidt.
The nursing shortage is hitting regions of the country with the most out-of-control spread, such as North Dakota, where 91% of intensive care unit beds are occupied and 35% of facilities report a ” critical shortage of nurses, “according to Covid exit strategy draft.
Texas health authorities are paying prisoners $ 2 an hour to help transport deceased Covid-19 victims.
Another Kansas nurse, Cheyanne Seematter, said, “It feels like we’re, you know, screaming into the abyss,” as healthcare workers plead with Americans to keep the virus under control. “We keep telling everyone to stay home, wear a mask, which is actually wrong here.”
The worsening pandemic comes during a transition of power in Washington DC. The Trump administration has refused to budge and begin a transition with President-elect Joe Biden, a delay that could harm virus control measures.
At the same time, two pharmaceutical companies have created hopes that safe and effective vaccines are on the horizon, although they will arrive too late to help healthcare workers and suffering patients in hospitals to the best of their ability.
In Idaho, the medical director of St Luke’s Health System, Dr. Jim Souza, said his hospital is considering “rationing” care, because there are not enough staff and beds for all patients. He said it was the first time in his time as a doctor.
“Never in my career did I think that we would even entertain the idea of rationing care in the United States of America,” Souza said.
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