Last Friday, I read a story in ProPublica on how the rapidly worsening covid-19 pandemic is, once again, straining our health care system—and one group of humans have been screaming for months now that we’re failing. Nurses, in particular, are tired. As one ER nurse in Wisconsin told ProPublica, “I would take getting punched on a daily basis rather than what we’re going through now.”
The Atlantic’s Ed Yong wrote something similar on the third wave, noting succinctly that healthcare workers are running out of steam. “In the imminent future, patients will start to die because there simply aren’t enough people to care for them. Doctors and nurses will burn out. The most precious resource the U.S. health-care system has in the struggle against COVID-19 isn’t some miracle drug. It’s the expertise of its health-care workers—and they are exhausted.” Yong interviewed a nurse named Whitney Neville, who works in Iowa. “Nurses have been the most trusted profession for 18 years in a row, which is now bullshit because no one is listening to us,” Neville told him.
Which brings us to one of the most infuriating interviews that I’ve seen during the entire pandemic. During an interview on CNN that aired Monday, one nurse in South Dakota, Jodi Doering, spoke about patients she has treated who refused to believe they have covid-19. “I think the hardest thing to watch is that people are still looking for something else, and they want a magic answer, and they don’t want to believe covid is real,” Doering said. She added, “Their last dying words are, ‘This can’t be happening, it’s not real,’ and when they should be spending time FaceTiming their families, they’re filled with anger and hatred.”
Doering described the toll that treating covid-19 patients has taken on her and other health care professionals. “It just makes you sad and mad and frustrated and then you know that you’re just gonna come back and do it all over again,” she said. “It’s just a movie where the credits never roll. You just do it all over again. And it’s hard and sad because every hospital, every nurse, every doctor in this state is seeing the same things. These people get sick in the same way, you treat them in the same way, they die in the same way, and then you do it over again.”
When the anchor asked her about her thoughts on how Kristi Noem, the Republican governor of South Dakota, is managing the pandemic, she had a message for both Noem and for residents of her state:
It’s frustrating as a health care provider because the last thing that we ask anyone when they seek care is how they voted or if they’re a Democrat or Republican. The last thing we ever think about is that. What we think about is how can we help you. So anybody that uses any chance to make this political, makes any health care provider want to scream. Because at the end of the day, we just want to help. And if we don’t get some help from the public as far as mask-wearing and social distancing... By the time you get to me and the team that we work with, it might be too late for some, and that is heartbreaking.
Just slap a damn mask on, people.
During a speech Joe Biden gave on Monday on the economic relief people need to weather the worsening covid-19 pandemic, he called on Congress to pass another stimulus bill, similar to the $3 trillion package that Democrats in the House passed earlier this year. He also talked about student loan forgiveness. The devil is as always in the details but do it, Joe!
- Barack Obama is on what seems like an endless media tour to promote his new book, which I find exhausting! People will buy your book, dude! Though I did appreciate that in this very long interview, he casually threw in the nugget that Mitch McConnell has no friends. [The Atlantic]
- More data is coming out about who voted and for whom in the presidential election. According to a New York Times analysis, counties that had higher unemployment rates due to covid-19 went for Joe Biden. And while numerous analyses have found that people in cities largely voted along patterns similar to previous years, it was suburban voters who, as Politico put it, “boosted [Biden’s] margins” in key states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. [New York Times/New York Times/Politico]
- Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s entirely baseless claims about election fraud are centered on cities with large Black populations. Gee, I wonder why? [New York Times]
- C’mon Joe, be a petty little bitch who loves accountability and transparency and release Donald Trump’s tax returns once you’re in the White House. [Politico]
- In some good news, even some Republicans are opposed to Judy Shelton’s nomination to the Federal Reserve Board. [Washington Post]
- Some more good covid-19 vaccine news?? [STAT]