Nurses Face Twin Threats of Racism and COVID
If COVID did not pose a big enough threat, CNN interviewed a dozen Black nurses across the UK’s healthcare sector – they had varying degrees of experience (from students to practicing nurses with decades of experience) and worked in different roles and settings (from hospitals to care homes.
CNN found that these nurses “have experienced racism in the workplace — and that it has gotten worse amid the coronavirus outbreak.”
Unfortunately, this finding is not confined to the UK. Statements from US nursing organizations urge action on racism and its malevolent consequences to society and the healthcare system. Ernest Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN, president of the American Nurses Association said. “Whenever we see racism, we must call it out, even if it is occurring among colleagues. To remain silent is just as problematic as promoting racism.”
To effect change, Beth Boynton, RN, MS believes that we need the voice of nurses, saying:
“Given the sheer quantitative force of the nursing profession as the frontline responders to the pandemic and their proximity to the communities they serve, there needs to be rapid policy reform and investment in nurses and nursing to ensure their optimal contribution and continued wellbeing amid the myriad consequences of COVID-19 now and beyond the flattening of the curve.”
A system change in our society and healthcare is needed to fix this cancer of racism and inequalities. Please join us in support of our position statement, “Black Lives Matter, Healthcare Inequalities, and the Need for Systemic Change.”
Sheltering in Place Works
We are social creatures – we like to be together.
However, if we are to beat COVID, sheltering in place has been shown to reduce COVID death and the rate of hospitalizations. Using data starting at different dates in March through May 15, 2020, Wei Lyu and George L. Wehby from the Department of Health Management and Policy, College of Public Health, University of Iowa, examined the effects of shelter-in-place orders (SIPOs) on daily growth rates of COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations. They concluded:
“Our study shows that statewide SIPOs issued by 42 states plus DC have reduced the daily growth rates of COVID-19 deaths by up to 6.1 percentage points after 42 days from enactment. SIPOs also reduced the daily hospitalization growth rate, by up to 8.4 percentage points after 42 days in 19 states with SIPOs and hospitalization data. These estimates indicate that SIPOs played a key role in flattening the curves not only for cases, but also for deaths and hospitalizations, and eased pressure on hospitals from avoided COVID-19 admissions.”
Don’t Let Misinformation and the Lack of Leadership Get You or Your Loved One Infected with COVID
According to the World Health Organization, as of June 27, 2020, there are 9.6 million confirmed cases of COVID and almost 500,000 deaths. In the United States, the confirmed cases of COVID are more than 2.4 million and almost 125,000 deaths – accounting for about 42% and 25% of the worldwide totals, respectively.
Unfortunately, this means that the United States is the world leader in confirmed COVID cases and COVID deaths, according to The Guardian:
Unfortunately, the COVID pandemic has just gotten worse, not better in the last few days. As CNN reports:
“The pandemic of 2020 is ravaging the United States faster every day. While many other developed countries gradually get back to normal, Americans are contracting Covid-19 in numbers that are hard to comprehend, breaking records every day.”
There are two major reasons for the COVID pandemic getting worse and not better in the US:
- Misinformation about COVID and simple measures like wearing masks is undermining gains.
- Lack of Leadership – Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization has condemned a “lack of leadership” in fighting the COVID pandemic, saying: “My friends, make no mistake: The greatest threat we face now is not the virus itself. Rather, it’s the lack of leadership and solidarity at the global and national levels.”
Each of us can do their own part in correcting misinformation and acting as leaders. Individual responsibility to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is as vital as government action. As researchers at the University of Oxford and Imperial College London in the UK, and Utrecht University and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands wrote in March 2020:
“There are difficult decisions ahead for governments. How individuals respond to advice on how best to prevent transmission will be as important as government actions, if not more important. Government communication strategies to keep the public informed of how best to avoid infection are vital, as is extra support to manage the economic downturn.”