Health workers in NY decry ‘abysmal’ lack of protection | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 29, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 29, 2020

Health workers in NY decry ‘abysmal’ lack of protection

Medical staff in America's coronavirus hotbed New York are struggling with long hours and a dire need for protective equipment -- and as infections surge, they increasingly fear for their own safety.

Doctors and nurses are working around the clock caring for patients hit by the fast-spreading infection, risking their lives on the front lines of the global crisis.

The same week the United States became the new epicentre of the pandemic -- posting over 100,000 confirmed cases of infection, including more than 1,500 deaths -- Kious Kelly, a nurse manager at a Manhattan hospital, succumbed to a fatal case of Covid-19.

The death of the 48-year-old male nurse crystallised fears of many medical workers who've lamented severe shortages of necessary supplies, including plastic protective gowns and hospital-grade masks.

"It's abysmal," said Andrew, a psychiatry resident in a New York hospital who spoke on condition his name be changed.

He is now quarantined at home with a likely case of the virus himself.

"There's not enough money, there aren't enough tests, there's not enough personal protective equipment for people who are dealing with this -- not just the doctors, but nurses, ancillary staff, janitors -- everyone in the hospital who are getting huge exposure to the virus," the resident told AFP in an interview punctuated by coughs.

Diana Torres, a former colleague of the late Kelly, said hospital staff are "devastated" that "he paid the ultimate price."

The mother of three told AFP there are units of the hospital filled to the brim with coronavirus patients.

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