A Spanish nurse says that going to work on a daily basis and fighting COVID-19 is like going to war.
What are the details?
According to Business Insider, nurse Coral Merino said that COVID-19 patients are dying lonely deaths alone and away from their families. Health authorities said Saturday, according to a CNBC report, that coronavirus infections have reached 5,753 people, half of them in Madrid, since the first case was detected in Spain in late January.
"Going to work is like going to a war," Merino said. "Every day I go to work, I go feeling fear, stress, and pain at being witness to this situation."
Merino, an ER nurse at Principe de Asturias University Hospital in Alcala de Henares, added that health care providers are also at risk, because there isn't enough personal protection wear to go around.
"These are hard times for all professionals, but especially for us," she admitted. "We're constantly in close contact with patients. ... There simply aren't enough masks to change them each time we go to see an isolated patient. There are no proper gowns. We just have to make do with porous ones and put plastic aprons over them."
Merino, who has been a nurse since 2011, added, "We're reusing the goggles other colleagues have used, washing and disinfecting them ourselves."
Merino also revealed that the health system is already seeing "many, many infected colleagues" and "many on leave."
Merino, who is also a wife and mother, said that she is afraid of catching COVID-19 and being quarantined away from her family.
"I've been unable to kiss them since the beginning," she said. "The first thing I do when I come home from work is shower and scrub myself down, basically until it hurts. I'm terrified of coughing more than I ought to, of getting a fever, and of being isolated from my family, of not being able to hold or kiss my baby for at least 15 days."
Not taking disease seriously angers nurse
Merino went on to blast people who are not taking the disease seriously and carrying on as if it were all a hoax.
"I see such little awareness around me," she said. "It's making me so angry. I don't think [some people are] very aware of how quickly this virus spreads, and the damage they're causing by not staying at home. Not only because they can catch it, but because they could have an accident or a problem that would require them going to the hospital. It's just going to collapse."
Merino added that due to the spread, many patients are dying alone.
"Many die alone without their families," she said. "No matter how hard you try not to, you take them home with you. And you just cry, you cry a lot."