The beginning of 2020 is probably nothing like you expected it to be.
Normal daily life is halted and people are working from home or left without a job due to temporary business shut downs. It can be difficult to focus on your economy during crisis. During this time, the healthcare work force and essential service industries are left to care for the population as whole. With no gauge for how long the virus and quarantine will last, it can be difficult to find positivity.
Doctors, nurses, and those serving on the front-lines are begging people to stay home in an effort to help flatten the curve and reduce spread of the virus. Thankfully, many people are stepping up to to help these healthcare workers who are desperate for more protective gear in the United States or are in need of backup medical providers in Italy.
In the wake of this pandemic, here are physicians and communities coming together in unique ways to combat COVID-19 across the globe.
Not only are healthcare workers in the United States begging people to stay home, they are also in dire need of more personal protective equipment as they are treating patients with the virus and it continues to spread.
Dr. Megan Ranney organized a “Get us PPE” website to help healthcare workers find, make, and bring PPE to the COVID-19 frontlines by matching the need for PPE with people who are offering donations.
“Across the country, healthcare workers are feeling anxious, and frustrated. They’re scared to go to work. They’re making videos for their kids in case they get infected and die.”
Dr. Damania, the notorious ZDogMD shared a poll on Facebook receiving more then 12,000 votes within 45 minutes, resulting in 96% of healthcare workers reporting they felt a shortage of PPE.
According to the "Get us PPE" website, “In the U.S., where the disease is early but closely following the Italian growth curve (4), our healthcare workers, including physicians, nurses, emergency responders, food service workers and other frontline staff, are frightened – not only because of the impending stress on the healthcare system, but also because of the plummeting supply of Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE.”
At this point, Dr, Ranney expresses concerns that the federal government is only activating supplies three states at this point, because healthcare workers feel at risk across the country.
Medical students across the country have more free time because their rotations have been put on hold due to the virus. UCSF School of Medicine students took matters in their own hands by hosting a mask drive asking the community to contribute any extra masks. They offered creative ideas of sources where people could find masks including nail salons, dentists, and construction workers. Community members donated masks they had left over from the devastating wildfires in California. You can see their mask drive success in the tweet below.
Pacific Gas and Electric also announced they would donate nearly 1 million protective masks from its wildfire and construction zone supply to California hospitals.
#UCSFMaskDrive UPDATE: Here is a thread dedicated to all the amazing things that happen when a community comes together in crisis.— India Perez-Urbano (@india_pu) March 22, 2020
Day 1: 235 masks collected
Day 2: 5,700 masks collected
Day 3 (today): 8,600 masks collected
TOTAL: 14,535 donations from 1 street corner, in 3days pic.twitter.com/Mv9mk8UWmy
Italy is now has the highest death toll from the Coronavirus in the world, surpassing China. Now that news of Italy becoming the worst his country, medical professionals are volunteering to help domestically and internationally. The Italian prime minister announced a task force of 300 volunteer doctors from all over Italy coming to support the areas most affected by the Coronavirus.
Cuba has sent six medical brigades to combat the spread of the new disease abroad. The sixth brigade is made up of 52 healthcare professionals who are traveling to Italy to provide aid in battling the disease. Cuba has one of the highest ratios worldwide of physicians per capita even when excluding those doctors abroad.
Hospitals and surgery centers around the country are cancelling elective surgeries and operations to help stop the spread of the virus and in anticipation of needing beds as more people are diagnose with the Coronavirus. With the closing of non-emergency operations, many physician specialists are either left with little or no work. Because of this, they are using their time to join the fight against the pandemic.
Physicians are sharing information via social media or other online channels, offering non-ICU clinicians refreshers in ICU education. The society of Critical Care Medicine released free online access to portions of their critical care support course for those who bravely serve in the COVID-19 pandemic.
ICU refreshers for Non-ICU Clinicians— Ishwaria Subbiah, MD MS (@IshwariaMD) March 20, 2020
✅From the Society of #CriticalCare Medicine @SCCM complimentary access https://t.co/PV5a5hMUtU
✅Tutorials from @jessica_bunin, ICU doc from Walter Reed, on vent basics, vasoactive meds, shock basics. #Covid https://t.co/QFedPgdK8K pic.twitter.com/kRtYS8nSXk
You can see these two doctors are shifting gears from Oncology and Outpatient Internal Medicine to inpatient care to support their local hospitals that need their help.
Tough day— Dr. Jennifer McQuade (@mcquadeMDLAc) March 23, 2020
We completely shuttered my lab & research @MDAndersonNews
I start inpatient attending service tomorrow & sent my son to stay with his dad for ?? how long to limit bidirectional exposure of my vulnerable patients & my family to #COVID19.
Fragile today. Strong tomorrow
And so begins the process to get me (an outpatient physician) credentialed to be work in the hospital! All hands on deck. Hope I still remember my training from @CMC_IM! All hands on deck! #Covid_19 @AtriumHealth— Reed Shimberg (@ShimSwam) March 20, 2020
For those who are finishing medical school and continuing onto residency, Match Day is a monumental celebration of the hard work one has put into med school and where they will be training for the next three to four years. Every year in late March, medical students gather with their friends and family to find out which program they have been matched to. This year, Match Day looked very different for these students as the government cautions against large gatherings. Even though Match Day ceremonies were cancelled nationwide, American Association of Medical Colleges, the orchestrator of the National Resident Match Program, reports medical school turned to Zoom and social media to celebrate more than 30,000 students who matched to their chosen specialty. These future MDs made the most of it by celebrating virtually.
Six practice physicians, from the popular,SoMeDocs community, came together to leverage social media for a Match Day 2020 #DistanceMatch Challenge. Medical Students could submit a video (1 minute or less) or visual to SoMeDocs for the chance to win a Internship Pandemic Survival Kit worth $500.
See the winning video in the tweet below:
As our physicians continue to fight on the front lines, we want to honor and thank you all for what you are doing for our community. As new doctors enter their training during these unparalleled times, we hope you will remember to take care of yourself too. Like these random people in the tweet below, we want to express our gratitude as you risk your lives and leave your families for us. To all of the grocery story workers, testing researchers, and innovators who are working towards finding solutions, thank you!
These random people held up signs for us outside our ED today and gave me hope again. Then, I cried for the first time during all of this. Thank you, random strangers, your kindness means more than you can know. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/bQZHgHs3NB— Dr.Ellen #flattenthecurve (@DrEllenKristin) March 21, 2020
From holding Personal Protective Equipment donation drives for hospitals to helping abroad, physicians are taking great strides to fight the fight against COVID-19. Thank you to the men and women who have spent hours serving during this time of pandemic! We appreciate all that you do.
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Molly was the marketing director at SDT from October 2017 through November 2020. She is passionate about connecting with people, digital marketing, and serving her community.
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