Nov 16, 2020 - Health

Health care workers at a breaking point

An image of a health care worker
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

This sure feels like a crisis in the making: Health care workers are overworked, over-stressed and burned out — all as cases and hospitalizations keep climbing and climbing.

What they're saying: "The wave hasn't even crashed down on us yet. It keeps rising and rising, and we're all running on fear. The health-care system in Iowa is going to collapse, no question," Eli Perencevich, an infectious disease doctor at the University of Iowa, told The Atlantic.

"People in leadership are starting to say things in meetings like, 'I have a sense of impending doom,'" Gregory Schmidt, associate chief medical officer at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, told ProPublica's Caroline Chen.

In New York City, CityMD clinics will now close 90 minutes earlier than they have been.

  • "Our site staff and doctors have been seeing patients well beyond normal closing time for months now and we've reached the point where they are sacrificing their own safety and health," CityMD said in a statement.

"My mom, a nursing home administrator, just broke down crying. She went from zero to 45 cases in two weeks, the COVID unit's overflowing. She's had to inform families and take their anger & pain. She's had to be a nurse, a CNA and a housekeeper because all but 9 of her staff have it," HuffPost reporter Sanjana Karanth tweeted yesterday.

The bottom line: Shortages of medical staff will have real consequences for the people who catch this virus, and the only way out of this bind is for fewer people to catch the virus.

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