I'm a Doctor and This Is What's Most Devastating About COVID Now

A doctor's account of the scene at the hospital—and in her town—during the current wave has gone viral.

While millions across the world have suffered hardships as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, there are few people out there who have witnessed as much tragedy firsthand as healthcare workers. Now, as the current surge is far surpassing the worst days of the initial wave of the pandemic, medical professionals are once again feeling overwhelmed by what they're seeing every day. The New York Times recently reported that doctors are quitting their jobs at rapid rates, and one doctor's message to her friend has gone viral for explaining just how "devastating" the "disconnect" over the new COVID surge is.

In a tweet on Nov. 15, actor and writer June Diane Raphael posted a screenshot of a text message she received from her best friend who works as a pulmonary and critical care doctor. Her stark warning is being shared across the social media, garnering more than 54,000 retweets as of Nov. 16. Read on to hear more about her story from the front lines of the pandemic, and for areas of the country that are taking action, check out These Are All the States Locking Down Again.

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"I expect at least half of them to die."

white woman receiving oxygen with coronavirus or flu in hospital

"Tomorrow will be my 10th day working straight," the doctor, identified as Kate G, explained in the text to her best friend. "We are completely surging. I am carrying more and sicker patients than ever in my career. They are almost all COVID."

The doctor was candid about the emotional and mental strain she's feeling as a result. "I expect at least half of them to die but probably not for an average of 1-3 weeks (which they will spend alone in the hospital)," she explained. "I have to call their families and update them daily. I sobbed on the phone with one mom who I have to update about her daughter who will likely die." And for more on how your area is dealing with the pandemic, find out How Bad the COVID Outbreak Is in Your State.

"We are physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted."

An infected patient in quarantine lying in bed in hospital, coronavirus concept.

The doctor also said that the conditions at work are tragically linked to how people are treating the pandemic outside the hospital. "We are overflowing our units. We are short-staffed. We are physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted," she described. "[But] people here aren't wearing masks, they are having Sunday family dinners, going to church, planning for Thanksgiving." And for more on the riskiest spots you could visit, check out These Are the 6 Worst Places You're Going Right Now, New Study Says.

"I drive home stunned through a college town with lines out the doors for local bars."

Two distraught doctors in hospital

In one of the most arresting parts of the message, the doctor shed light on how the general public's behavior flies in the face of the medical community's advice and hard work.

"There is such a disconnect between the hospital and the surrounding communities. I don't leave the hospital to bells, whistles, and clanging pots and pans," she said, referring to the daily tradition during the early days of the pandemic of the public thanking essential workers with a 7 p.m. cheer from their windows, balconies, and front porches. Instead, she described, "I drive home stunned through a college town with lines out the doors for local bars." And for more updates on COVID and more, sign up for our daily newsletter.

"This is devastating."

Worried healthcare coworkers at operating room in hospital

In the end, the healthcare worker made an exasperated wish for the general public to change their ways. "People complain about their personal freedoms being limited and the mental effects of social distancing and wearing a mask… but give no respect to others' right to live and give no thought to the mental effects of accidentally infecting and killing grandma or the trauma they are imposing on their healthcare workers," the doctor wrote. "This is devastating." And for more on what to look out for with COVID, check out If You Notice These 3 Strange Symptoms, You May Have COVID, Study Says.

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Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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