As COVID-19 has infected more than 1 million Americans, nurses working on the front lines with little protective support have made the gut-wrenching decision to step away from their jobs, saying that they were ill-equipped and unable to fight the disease and that they feared for not only their own safety but also that of their families.
Many of these nurses, who have faced backlash for quitting, said new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocols have made them feel expendable and have not kept their safety in mind, leaving them no choice but to walk away from a job they loved, NBC News reports.
As the nation took stock of its dwindling medical supplies in the early days of the pandemic, CDC guidance regarding personal protective equipment quickly took a back seat.
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Supplies of N95 masks, which had previously been the acceptable standard of protective care for both patients and medical personnel, were depleting, so commercial grade masks, surgical masks and, in the most extreme cases, homemade masks, such as scarves and bandannas, were all sanctioned by the CDC — which didn't return a request for comment — to counter the lack of resources.
Nurses, among other health care workers, were expected to pivot and adapt with no evidence to the view that new guidelines would provide any significant protection from a novel and contagious disease.