“We are not martyrs sacrificing our lives”: NPR

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On April 13, healthcare workers come by to express support for nurses who need personal protective equipment outside the UCLA medical center in Santa Monica, California.

Damian Dovarganes / AP

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Damian Dovarganes / AP

On April 13, healthcare workers come by to express support for nurses who need personal protective equipment outside the UCLA medical center in Santa Monica, California.

Damian Dovarganes / AP

When the first crush of COVID-19 sick people arrived at the Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, Benny Mathew According to the managers, two N95 masks and other nurses were issued to him per week. Instead of throwing protective masks after treating contagious patients, they stored them in paper bags.

“There is no way you can’t get it if you work in the emergency room with absolute minimum protection,” Matthew told NPR. He tested positive for COVID-19 on March 21 and said that many of his colleagues fell ill at work.

“Some of them stayed in the hospital for almost a week,” he said. “The nurses carried the virus home and made their partners, their children and their parents sick. “

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 9,000 front-line nurses and other medical workers have contracted COVID-19. Federal agencies say dozens of nurses and other caregivers have died.

NPR wanted to understand how this situation came about. How did the world’s best funded health system end up sending nurses to rooms full of people with a mysterious new respiratory virus without basic personal protective equipment?

The first warning signs appeared in early February, weeks before the COVID-19 eruption in the United States. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization, then warned of a “serious disruption” in the PPE supply chain.

“The demand is up to 100 times higher than normal,” said Tedros. “There are depleted stocks and arrears of four to six months. Global stocks of masks and respirators are now insufficient to meet needs. “

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