"It’s a war without bullets": First-hand accounts from health care workers battling coronavirus

Updated Mar 30, 2020 7:37 PM EDT

On this National Doctors’ Day, there are urgent calls for help on Monday from doctors and nurses who are risking their lives while treating coronavirus patients. President Trump said Monday that he’s considering hazard pay for health care workers, but gave no details.

The endless echo of sirens, a warning about the state of our nation’s hospitals. From Illinois to Arizona and in the worst-hit state: New York.

“It’s a war without bullets,” said Dr. Joaquin Morante.

Morante is an ICU doctor at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx, where six people died overnight. 

“Being covered in COVID — it’s walking into the hospital and feeling like every part of the hospital is a dirty zone,” Morante said. 

“Covered in COVID” without enough protection to stay healthy. All 24 of Jacobi’s ICU beds are full.

Health care workers in New York protested the lack of protection. Morante is forced to wash his gear at home.

Dr. Rupa Marya, with the UC San Francisco Medical Center, showed the calm before the surge.

Her hospital’s entire supply of protective equipment, which is enough for just one week, is stored in filing cabinets.

“We actually have them in these filing cabinets,” said nurse Philip Garcia. 

Marya said there are doctors who are writing their wills and nurses who are afraid of dying, but even more worried about bringing COVID-19 home.

While nurses and doctors are being hailed as heroes, many feel abandoned. California Governor Gavin Newsom said the federal government shipped 170 broken ventilators to Los Angeles over the weekend. There’s now a rush to fix them.

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