'I Go to Work in Fear': The Pandemic Health Workers Left Behind
More than a year since the first cases of COVID-19 emerged from Wuhan, China, the world remains in the grips of a pandemic that has blindsided governments, caused unimaginable damage to communities, business and everyday life, and infected more than 153,000,000 people worldwide.
Even with more than 1 billion vaccine doses administered globally, and with Europe, the U.K. and the U.S. creeping with cautious optimism towards a new "normal" as vaccine rollout continues apace, many areas of the world are struggling to cope.
On April 30, India saw its rate of COVID infections reach nightmarish proportions; more than 400,000 new cases were reported in a single day. In the Americas, particularly Brazil, and South East Asia, cases remain high and efforts to thwart the virus are frequently curtailed by a lack of hospital beds, slow vaccine roll-out and poorly coordinated government responses.
In those areas of the world, the situation is grim, exhausting and heartbreaking. For doctors and nurses, hospital support staff, paramedics and carers and many others, the pandemic has lingered in their days and nights long after the public applause quieted. And yet, they remain at the forefront of efforts to save lives and curb the spread of COVID. They continue to show up, irrespective of the dangers they face.
The toll the pandemic has taken is real. Hundreds of thousands of health-care workers have been infected with the virus, and recent research from Amnesty International showed at least 17,000 health workers died from COVID-19 globally in the first year of the pandemic. Data collated by the Guardian and KHN counted 3,607 U.S. health-care worker deaths from COVID up to April 2021.
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