The Stream

COVID-19 Delta surge: Are healthcare workers at a breaking point?

On Thursday, August 12 at 19:30 GMT:
Anger, frustration, fear, shame – those are just some of the emotions frontline workers in the United States are grappling with as their hospitals once again fill up with coronavirus cases. Some of the worst hit areas like Florida and Arkansas are even seeing children’s hospitals fill up with COVID-19 cases.

Despite widespread availability of vaccines that help prevent and mitigate COVID-19 infections, millions of Americans have opted not to get the shots. In states with low vaccine uptakes, the more contagious Delta variant has now taken hold, resulting in a fourth wave of illness, mainly among younger people.

Doctors and nurses already burned out from battling coronavirus over the past 18 months say it’s been hard to face this new crush of patients.

Many express feeling invisible and unappreciated by a country ready to move on from the virus. Others are quitting the healthcare profession altogether, exacerbating an existing shortage in frontline workers. And some are accusing government officials of stymying their efforts to save lives.

“I don’t need meals delivered, or pots and pans banged on at the same time every night,” a California emergency room nurse recently said. “Instead, I need people to get vaccinated and stop spreading misinformation. Vaccines prevent severe symptoms and hospitalisations, thereby keeping exposure low to us working in the trenches. So the only honest ‘thank you’ from America that I’m looking for — is that everyone is getting vaccinated.”

In this episode we ask how is the latest COVID-19 Delta surge is affecting the mental health of US healthcare workers? Join the conversation.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Dr Nicole Christian-Brathwaite, @Drnicolecb

Felicia Croft
ICU Nurse

Dr. Minal Ahson
Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine & Pediatrics, University of South Florida