As coronavirus cases surge – and critical shortages of personal protective gear such as masks, gowns, and gloves persist – the nation’s healthcare workers are again facing life-threatening conditions in both southern and western states.
More than 1000 frontline healthcare workers have died of COVID-19, according to an interactive database called “Lost on the Frontline” unveiled today by the Guardian and KHN. Said database is a partnership between the two newsrooms that aims to count, verify, and commemorate each American healthcare worker who dies during the pandemic.
A team of more than 50 journalists from the Guardian, KHN, and different U.S. journalism schools have spent months investigating individual deaths to make sure they died from COVID-19 and that they were indeed working on the frontline with COVID-19 patients. The reporters have also been investigating the circumstances of their deaths, especially their lack of access to PPE.
Nurses at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center were on edge as early as March when patients who had tested positive for COVID-19 began to show up in areas of the hospital that were not set aside to care for them. And yet patients continued to be scattered through the Oakland hospital, according to complaints to California’s division of occupational safety and health.
We are talking about just one of the many medical centers that suffered, and as of today, still suffer from the lack of care of their staff members, especially nurses. The early data indicates that dozens have died who could not access adequate PPE, and at least 35 succumbed after federal work-safety officials received safety complaints about their workplaces.
The irrefutable conclusion is that many of these deaths were preventable. Inadequate preparation, government missteps, and an overburdened healthcare system increased the risk. Here at WeShield, we are currently sourcing and distributing all the necessary equipment that can help healthcare workers safely do their jobs.
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