Coronavirus: U.S. health care workers are at risk

“We have gone into an extreme rationing.” With the increase in COVID-19 cases, doctors and nurses have improvised ways to make what supplies they have left last.

U.S. health workers in danger

What exactly is happening?

There are about 18 million physicians, nurses, and other health workers around the world, according to the World Health Organization. As of March 27, there are 542,788 cases of coronavirus in 917 countries and territories with 24,361 deaths. Over 85,700 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the U.S. There has been an extreme shortage of medical supplies including medical masks and ventilators.

Health care workers are rallying on social media with the hashtag #GetMePPE, to put pressure on elected leaders to get them more gear. On March 18, 2020 President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to speed medical supply production. If you call a physician or a nurse or some other health worker on the phone, they will be able to ask you a set of questions that will help them guide you in terms of what to do next. By having that phone call, you may avoid the need to go physically to a clinic or to an emergency room or to a hospital which protects you and protects the general public.

How to prevent the virus

As there is no vaccine, the WHO has stressed the need for citizens to take collective action and use at-home prevention methods. Several countries have stay-at-home orders or advisories in place; it is extremely important to follow them. Health professionals are asking citizens to stop buying medical masks as they are often worn improperly, and tend to be more effective for those with the virus rather than those trying to avoid getting sick. Also, the mass stockpiling of these devices are preventing medical workers from having the proper supplies. Other known prevention methods include rigorously and frequently washing hands, using hand sanitizer if soap is unavailable, disinfecting any and all surfaces, and preparing medicine and food supplies in case of infection.