Covid-19 has already exhausted the US. And it's only the start of a dark and deadly winter
Dec 05, 2020 2 mins, 24 secs
"The staff is here, but they're broken."

Edward's hospital on Thursday had just two beds left before its intensive care unit reaches capacity.

"I actually believe they're going to be the most difficult in the public health history of this nation, largely because of the stress that's going to put on our health care system."

There's a dire need for health care workers

Nurses at Montefiore New Rochelle Hospital in New Rochelle, New York -- the East Coast's first Covid-19 hotspot -- took to the picket line this week, demanding better pay, more staffing and higher quality protective gear ahead of a potential surge in Covid-19 hospitalizations.

"Right now, we have less staff than we had in the spring ...

Those already working in the hospital are "severely exhausted," he said, and some are falling ill.

He doesn't expect the pandemic to let up any time soon, and he's not sure how much longer his staff can keep going.

"The resiliency starts to break down at some point, regardless of how much I know that this team is willing to do," he said.

Nurses at Hutchinson Regional Medical Center in Hutchinson, Kansas, are also dreading a potential surge in cases.

"Two to three weeks we're going to be just swamped," nurse Mary Jones told CNN affiliate KWCH.

Jones, who works in the Covid-19 unit, told the station she's lost more patients in the last couple months than she has in the last decade.

"There are days that you go home and you're just not sure you're going to come back, days you get here and find out someone you were taking care of two days ago is gone," she said.

And yet, nurses are still dealing with patients who deny the virus is even real, she said.

Twenty-six of the funerals last month were due to Covid-19.

While Kruger feels her staff can handle the boom in business, she believes some are suffering from post-traumatic stress, partly due to having to repeatedly inform grieving families they can't have a funeral for five weeks.

"We're all just kind of cringing and saying, 'We do not want to do this again,'" she said.

The demand for food is through the roof

The needs aren't limited to medical staff.

She's been out of work for just two weeks, but her family has four children to feed, so they're taking advantage of the resources available.

"We don't know when we're going to have income, so that means we don't know when we're going to be able to buy groceries," she said.

and then the rest of December we're going to have to figure out how we're going to bring in food to make sure that these families have enough food for the rest of the month," Vélez said.

Los Angeles Regional Food Bank President and CEO Michael Flood says his organization's food distribution is up 145% -- unprecedented demand.


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