Coronavirus: What’s going well and what’s worrisome as things get busier

What I’m seeing is what everyone is seeing: All of the greater Boston hospitals report more and more patients with coronavirus are admitted or in the emergency room. At our hospital, the number quadrupled overnight to fifty-three. Despite the sharp increase in numbers, things are running smoother now than they were Monday, as everyone figures out the new work flows and sorts out the logistical hassles.

But the number of patients is only going to increase from here. Everyone and their mother is worried about basic equipment, from protective gear meant to shield healthcare workers and hospital staff from infection, to the reagents, tubes and swabs essential for running COVID-19 tests. Hospitals all over the city are appealing to the research community, construction industry, even the general public for donated supplies.

Right now, the hospital workforce is majority healthy and there are plenty of eager volunteers ready to take care of our patients. But how long will that last? As my colleague described in The Atlantic today, we need to take action now:

Most hospitals are now pulling from the national reserve. And unless we have a pipeline to resupply that reserve, this is a looming disaster… it would be great to see our collective society, our large corporations, consulting firms, logistics experts like Amazon, be thinking aggressively about how to rapidly either procure or manufacture personal protective equipment for health-care workers. Yes, we moved to social distancing. That is tremendous. The next thing that needs to be solved: We need personal protective equipment for our health-care workers, and then ventilators.

Our country needs to start making more, a lot more, of all of these things really soon.

Meantime? Reuse the ones we have. I’m also thinking of the people around me if I get sick. I saved my masks from yesterday and today and plan to use them if I start coughing, to protect my family. There may not be any more masks available soon, so these are hidden away. Waste not.

Here’s some good news, though: Fewer and fewer people are out and about, which is fantastic. I’ve been driving in to work instead of using the subway, and there is no traffic, none. On Route 93 through the city, through the tunnel, which is unheard of! The one-mile walk from the staff lot to the hospital takes longer than the commute, which is weird, but good. This means that people are taking this pandemic seriously. Thank you.

The other good news? I haven’t worn scrubs exclusively since I was a resident. Man, scrubs are great. Baggy and comfy, requiring no thought at all, but still considered professional attire. These and my old beat-up clogs and I have to say, I have never been more comfortable at work.

Hey, you gotta look on the bright side once in awhile!

Scrubs are so comfortable and effortless. One positive thing in all of this mess.

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