Social media users are applauding the medical staff treating those affected by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in China after pictures of what it looks like to fight on the front lines were shared online.
The pictures, taken by the medical staff and shared by a Chinese media organization via Twitter, show the bruised faces of the nurses as a result of wearing protective masks in the epicenter of the outbreak in Wuhan, China.
Salute! Photos of frontline doctors and nurses taking off their masks during short breaks in their fight against the novel #coronavirus moved millions of netizens across China. pic.twitter.com/qN6jvFf6jz
— People’s Daily, China (@PDChina) February 2, 2020
The work these nurses do to help contain the virus and treat those who are infected are grueling. One nurse, who wished only to be referred to by her family name, Yao, spoke to BBC about the difficulties the medical staff is facing.
She works at a hospital described as a “fever clinic” in Xiangyang, the second-largest city in Hubei province. Her role is to analyze blood samples to determine whether a patient has the coronavirus.
According to the nurse, due to the high number of patients at the hospital, they all have to work 10-hour shifts. She added that the staff isn’t allowed to have proper meals, take short breathers or use the restroom during their shift.
“At the end of the shift, when we take off the suits, we’ll find our clothes are completely wet with sweat,” she said. “Our forehead, nose, neck and face are left with deep marks by the tight masks and sometimes even cuts.”
Yao added that some of her colleagues were too tired to walk, so they sleep on hospital chairs to rest.
Nurses take off their face masks after a grueling shift in fight with novel #coronavirus, touching the hearts of millions on Chinese social media. Salute to these angels!#EverydayHero ❤️❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/BiO7E3PfGR
— People’s Daily, China (@PDChina) February 5, 2020
“It’s a difficult job, it’s very sad and heart-breaking, and most of the time we just don’t have time to think about our own safety,” Yao said. “We also have to treat the patients with tender care, because many people came to us with great fear, some of them were on the verge of a nervous breakdown.”
A similar case of exhaustion from medical staff was shared in Singapore. Benjamin Ong detailed his experience fighting on the front lines, AsiaOne reported.
Ong shared that he has to sacrifice not only his body but also his annual leave days and even his wedding reception.
“After finishing your shift sweaty with tiredness, aching back, sore calf, painful ankles. you found out that not only your Annual Leaves are frozen,” he wrote. “… and worst of all is when you have to cancel your wedding reception because both you and your significant other are front liners and you both are needed to fight the ‘war’ because LIVE MATTERS.”
Ong went on to express how he doesn’t appreciate the reactions that he receives during his commute home after his shift at work, saving people and fighting the virus.
“People say u bring germs/ virus with u, that u are infecting other people and that u are INCONSIDERATE but u just be quite and leave the train or bus because u are tired after work to explain ur situation,” Ong wrote.
Many social media users shared their support for the nurses fighting the virus.
Salute to the front line hero’s, Ughur people matters, your government should give Ughour people the fundamental rights then we may have sympathy with u PRC.
— Mohib ahmadzai (@Mohibahmadzai) February 2, 2020
Their the true heroes. God bless them abundantly.
— Kelly (@Kdarryl12) February 2, 2020
Thank you for everything you are doing. Our prayers are with you.
— 🇺🇸 Sheri V. 🇺🇸 🐎🐾 (@777Snv) February 2, 2020
We are with you here in USA also. I’ve been following this thoroughly everyday. I truly thank you all for working and trying so hard.
— Cleanology Pro Cleaning Services, LLC (@charci101) February 2, 2020
They look exhausted. What an amazing effort all round. Good job China!
— Mark Houchin (@MarcusSharkusH) February 2, 2020
Take care you all. Remember we need you alive. Don’t be guilty to take rest when needed. It will do you good. It will be good for everyone.
— Iceblue102 (@IceBlue102) February 5, 2020
God bless them, sacrificing their lives for their people to live
— Emad M 🆓🇱🇧 (@ismmm007) February 5, 2020
Feature Image via @PDChina