Medical workers prepare to test people in Las Vegas. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Doctors, nurses and other health care workers are afraid for their health — and in some cases their lives — as the mounting coronavirus outbreak closes in on a health care system that doesn't have enough equipment and overworks its people.

What they're saying: "It's a mess, and there's no help," Alan Roth, a doctor at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in Queens, New York, said last week. "We have been left out to dry."

The big picture: Dwindling supplies of face masks, gowns and necessary hospital equipment continue to worry health care workers in areas where the coronavirus cases have spiked.

  • Chuck Fox, a gastroenterologist in Atlanta, said on a conference call that a doctor at a nearby hospital had been using the same N95 mask for two straight weeks and was intermittently disinfecting it with Clorox wipes.
  • Roseann Farris, a critical care nurse at Watson Community Hospital in California, is worried that her hospital, which has not seen a surge yet, will run out of supplies. She and her colleagues walked out this week, urging hospital administrators to explain how they plan to replenish their stockpile.

The worries extend well beyond doctors and nurses.

  • Hospital technicians, therapists, janitors and other service staff feel especially neglected and worry about contracting the virus, the Center for Public Integrity reports.
  • A former home health therapist in New York tells Axios that his company told employees to persuade patients to continue getting home care, even if the patients were concerned about the coronavirus. Many of those patients are older and have several medical conditions, and thus are at a higher risk of contracting the virus, the person said.

What to watch: Health care workers are starting to die more frequently. Whether that trend continues will depend on how well hospitals and the system at large protects them.

Go deeper: Health care workers in the calm before the storm

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 19,648,084 — Total deaths: 727,024 — Total recoveries — 11,941,723Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 4,998,105 — Total deaths: 162,425 — Total recoveries: 1,643,118 — Total tests: 61,080,587Map.
  3. Politics: Trump signs 4 executive actions on coronavirus aid — Democrats, and some Republicans, criticize the move
  4. Public health: Fauci says chances are "not great" that COVID-19 vaccine will be 98% effective — 1 in 3 Americans would decline COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Science: Indoor air is the next coronavirus frontline.
  6. Schools: How back-to-school is playing out in the South as coronavirus rages on — Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Howard to hold fall classes online.
Updated 3 hours ago - World

Brazil coronavirus death toll tops 100,000 and case numbers surpass 3 million

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro posted a photo of himself to Facebook congratulating his soccer team, Palmeiras, for winning the state title Saturday, moments after the health ministry confirmed the national COVID-19 death toll had surpassed 100,000.

Why it matters: Brazil is only the second country to confirm more than 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus. On Sunday morning, it became the second country to surpass 3 million cases, per Johns Hopkins. Only the U.S. has reported more. Bolsonaro has yet to address the milestones. He has previously tested positive for COVID-19 three times, but he's downplayed the impact of the virus, which has crippled Brazil's economy.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with the latest coronavirus case numbers and more context.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Republicans and Democrats react to Trump's coronavirus aid action

President Trump speaks to workers at a manufacturing facility in Clyde, Ohio, on Thursday. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Some Republicans joined Democrats in criticizing President Trump Saturday night for taking executive action on coronavirus aid, with Democratic leaders demanding the GOP return to negotiations after stimulus package talks broke down a day earlier.

Why it matters: Trump could face legal challenges on his ability to act without congressional approval, where the constitutional power lies on federal spending. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) was the most vocal Republican critic, saying in a statement: "The pen-and-phone theory of executive lawmaking is unconstitutional slop."