Coronavirus cases are surging in the United States. Yesterday, over 160,000 cases were reported across the nation—that's an 82% increase over the last two weeks. Along with the increase in cases, hospitals are now seeing a surge in critically ill patients. In El Paso, Texas, there are unconfirmed reports that some of the sickest patients are not receiving treatment.
Actress June Diane Raphael recently took to Twitter to share a text she had received from her best friend, a critical care doctor taking care of patients who are critically ill with coronavirus. The text message has since gone viral for offering a brutally honest look at the coronavirus pandemic.
"This is the text I just received after asking my best friend (pulmonary and critical care doctor) how she was doing," Raphael wrote. The actress went on to encourage her followers to wear a mask and practice social distancing.
"Tomorrow will be my 10th day working straight," the doctor wrote in her text. "We are completely surging. I am carrying more and sicker patients than ever in my career...I expect at least half of them to die but probably not for 1-3 weeks (which they will spend alone in the hospital)."
"I have to call their families and update them daily. I sobbed on the phone with one mom who I have to update about her daughter who will likely die. We are overflowing our units. We are short staffed. We are physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted."
The doctor added that there is "such a disconnect between the hospital and the surrounding communities," where many people don't seem to be taking the pandemic seriously. "People here aren't wearing masks, they are having Sunday family dinners, going to church, planning for Thanksgiving...I drive home stunned through a college town with lines out the doors for local bars," she continued.
"People complain about their personal freedoms being limited and the mental effects of social distancing and wearing a mask...but give no respect to others' right to live and give no thought to the mental effects of accidentally infecting and killing grandma or the trauma they are imposing on their healthcare workers. This is devastating."
The eye-opening text attracted a strong response on social media. "We healthcare workers are burnt out, emotionally & physically spent," one user wrote. "In 25 years, I’ve never felt so disrespected or disillusioned. I too live in a college town; these kids will be going home this week all around the state, but at least still warm here so not inside."
While another added: "As a hospice social worker in a major medical system, its terrifying how everyone just thinks this is nothing. Health care workers are experiencing real trauma and expected to do it day after day."
The best way to prevent contracting or spreading coronavirus is with thorough hand washing, social distancing, and wearing a mask or cloth facial covering. If you feel you may be experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, which include persistent cough (usually dry), fever, shortness of breath, and fatigue, please call your doctor before going to get tested. For comprehensive resources and updates, visit the CDC website. If you are experiencing anxiety about the virus, seek out mental health support from your provider or visit NAMI.org.