If you still have any doubts about the seriousness and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, you haven't been listening. Hospitals are overwhelmed. Healthcare workers are telling us it's like nothing they've ever seen before.
No one was prepared for this. It's a deadly virus that affects young and old people, those with underlying health conditions and those without. If you think you're immune because you're physically active and fit, you're wrong. One ICU nurse recently gained a lot of attention for her brutally honest post about what she is witnessing every single day at her job.
Aleixandrea Macias is one of the brave people fighting this thing for us day in and day out, but she has reached a breaking point. COVID-19 is devastating, unprecedented, and isn't slowing down. Her post makes this very clear.
Along with this emotional photo of herself, Aleixandrea explained that she hasn't posted an update in days because she "could not find anything positive to say." I don't blame her one bit.
"I have never seen anything like this before," she continues. "I've been working in a makeshift ICU for days now because there were no other nurses to staff the area." Even though they've been getting new medical staff daily, there still aren't enough doctors and nurses. On top of that, there aren't enough supplies.
"I can't count the times I have heard, 'Well, we could try and do this but we don't have this.'" This isn't how it should be. Our hospitals should be getting money and support from our federal government, and it's just not happening. Because of this, nurses like Aleixandrea are overworked and thrust into situations they've never been in.
She explains that she is not an ICU nurse, but pretty much no one else working in her area is at this point. And then she explains what she's seeing with patients. Fair warning: She doesn't mince words, and it's quite a lot to handle.
"Of course we can't share patient info," she writes, "but being in an ICU setting, I am keeping my same patients day after day until they die. No one has left our unit yet except in a body bag... I've seen patients arrive on our unit not yet sedated or vented but in extreme respiratory distress and beyond frightened.
"I have explained what COVID is doing to their body, what the risks are of being intubated vs. not, and I have listened as these people have called their family members for the very last time prior to being intubated...
"After they are sedated, their personal belongings are still there. Their phones still ring. That's the worst, is listening to the phones ring knowing someone is calling and praying they will answer just one more time.
"These people are not old. They are young. Many with no medical problems. Strong people, physically fit. One who even worked five jobs at a time until COVID ravaged his body. This virus kills people. They all die at some point, it's just been a game of seeing how long we can keep them half alive...
"When their bodies finally give up fighting, we place them in a body bag. I've seen hundreds of people die as a nurse, but they are usually surrounded with loved ones or we give family time to see them to say their goodbyes. Not with COVID. There is no closure for anyone in this.
"I can't explain to you how bad this hurts, how real this is, and how afraid I am knowing that it could get like this in my own hometowns. I can't make you guys do anything, but I am literally begging you to listen to us healthcare workers and take this seriously.
"My heart hurts so bad tonight for these families who have lost people entirely too soon, for those who are sick and absolutely terrified, and for all of us who will surely have some form of PTSD after this is over."
Those are chilling words, folks. That's the reality of this virus. Luckily, Aleixandrea's post seems to have struck a chord because it's been shared tens of thousands of times.
COVID-19 is this serious. It's not "a bad flu." It's killing perfectly healthy people along with those who have underlying health conditions, and it's doing so at an alarming rate. No one is immune. If you know anyone who isn't taking this seriously, share her post with them. Make them take it seriously. It's the only way this will end.
The best way to prevent contracting or spreading coronavirus is with thorough hand washing and social distancing. 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.