‘We were in a race, and we lost,’ said US doctors regarding the Covid rise.
Covid-19 has killed about 620,000 Americans and infected over 32 million more.
The fight against the pandemic has been led by healthcare workers. And for many others, the last few months have felt familiar.
A spike in the number of Covid patients admitted to hospitals, as well as an increase in mortality and widespread misconceptions about the disease, has some people thinking it’s “summer 2020 all over again.”
Has the vaccine, on the other hand, made a difference? Do medical professionals believe that the fall will be better than the summer?
We checked in with a few of the healthcare professionals (doctors, nurses, and medical staff) we spoke with last summer to see how they are doing nearly 18 months after the Covid epidemic began.
Here’s what they had to say to us.
A lot has changed and a lot hasn’t in the last year. Every day I went to work last year, I was terrified of becoming ill or infecting my family with Covid.
Things seemed to be getting better from April to June 2021. Families were returning to the hospitals, patients were upbeat, and we were looking forward to the summer. Unfortunately, the Delta version, as well as our policy blunders surrounding it, has made August 2020 feel like it’s all over again.
I’m just frustrated. We didn’t have a vaccination last year, so there was an air of impending doom when it came to outbreaks.
Despite the fact that we now have a vaccine that can prevent the majority of Covid hospital cases, several states’ ICUs remain busier than ever. Fewer people are wearing masks, and I’m concerned about a very bad flu season, compounded by the continuous spread of Covid Delta.
What disturbs me is that, when our hospitals became overcrowded last year, our political leaders responded with legislative measures. This time, though, we are simply not going to do it. In Texas, our governor has imposed mask requirement prohibitions, and we are behind on immunizations.
I sincerely hope that we can depoliticize the pandemic, masks, and vaccine. If we succeed in doing so, Covid will be reduced to a mere annoyance rather than a death sentence for thousands of more Americans.
The pandemic has yet to be contained. We haven’t been able to keep it under control, and we’re likely to see another surge, at least in the United States.
After seeing the increase in patients in other states, we are preparing our hospitals in Massachusetts.
This, I believe, is primarily due to the fact that immunizations have not met our expectations. We were in a race, and we came up short because the Delta variation of the vaccine isn’t as effective. It’s lower, but we’re not sure how much.
Covid is infecting even those who have been vaccinated. Initially, this novel strain was not included in vaccine trials. As a result, corporations such as Pfizer and Moderna are considering purchasing the booster in the Delta variety.
Infected pregnant women are one of the worst things we’ve seen, and it’s a heartbreaking circumstance.
As a doctor, I would prescribe the vaccine even if it isn’t required. For the time being, we don’t expect things to slow down. We believe that if individuals get vaccinated and socially remove themselves like we have done in the past, we will be able to reduce the peak of this outbreak.
Since April of 2020, a lot has happened. I was burned out after working as an ICU nurse in New York City during the peak of the pandemic. Thankfully, during the summer, Covid’s numbers had decreased and work life had returned to normal. As the dust settled, New York took on a new feel.
I could feel myself getting restless, yearning for a change of environment. So I chose a Texas city I’d never visited before and took a travel nurse position in El Paso for the end of summer 2020.
What began as a fun adventure quickly devolved into yet another Covid horror. As the virus infected entire houses, El Paso quickly became a Covid epicenter.
In 2021, instead of returning to the acute care hospital setting, I went to work as a nurse practitioner in vaccine clinics all around New York City.
I was on the other side for over four months, on the side that felt less stressful and more promising. Instead of hearing about Covid’s horrific stories, I was greeted with smiles from people who were eager to get vaccinated in the hopes of achieving a new level of normalcy.
Despite our efforts, hearing about what is happening in hospitals around the country as Covid cases rise hurts my heart. Hospitals are once again understaffed, and healthcare employees are burnt out.
Everyone in the healthcare industry is expecting a difficult fall and winter this year. It’s unsettling to see hospitals overburdened at the end of summer, well before flu season begins.
I’m most concerned about the misinformation, conspiracies, and propaganda about the vaccine and the virus that is circulating on the internet. I understand that in the end, it will only harm our country and stifle efforts to stop Covid from spreading further.
I’ve been inundated with Covid patients over the last year. As a doctor, my main concern last year was transmitting the disease to my children and wife while intubating and caring for thousands of patients.
Many of us now have a little more confidence in our ability to avoid disease because of the vaccine. It doesn’t mean that people won’t get sick, but it does mean that they’ll be less likely to be hospitalized and die. On a personal level, that gives me hope every day.
That said, I’m saddened by recent hospitalizations, and I’m concerned for the immuno-compromised and patients who wished to be vaccinated but were unable to do so owing to other medical concerns.
I find it unfortunate that political parties are blaming each other. When medical practitioners disseminate false information, it makes me angry because it undermines public trust in our profession.
Our greatest difficulty is combating false and misleading material that may be factually incorrect.
We need to understand people’s anxieties about masks, vaccines, and the disease, and then work with them to develop ways to make better informed decisions.