These Nurses Had to Wear Trash Bags as PPE. Now They Have Coronavirus.

The nurses shared a photo of their makeshift personal protective equipment last month. Now, like so many of their colleagues, they're sick.
April 9, 2020, 12:13pm
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The Telegraph/Facebook

Last month three nurses at the Northwick Park Hospital in west London shared a photo of themselves wearing trash bags on their hands, head, and feet, pleading with the government to give them proper personal protective equipment.

All three nurses have now contracted the coronavirus, the Telegraph reported Thursday.

The hospital was the first in the U.K. to declare a critical incident last month, after it was overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients and front-line staff said they were contracting the disease because they had not been provided with sufficient PPE.

A senior source inside the hospital told the Telegraph that the situation was so bad that in one ward, more than 50% of staff, including the matron and ward manager, had contracted the virus.

On Wednesday, the Department of Health announced that another 938 people had died from coronavirus, making it the U.K.’s deadliest day so far. Wednesday’s figure is higher than Italy’s worst daily total, 919 recorded on March 27, and just shy of Spain’s record 961 deaths reported on April 2.

So far more than 7,000 people in the U.K. have died from the coronavirus, though some experts say that figure is significantly underestimated.

Healthcare workers have been among those hit hardest by the spread of the coronavirus in the U.K.

While Health Secretary Matt Hancock said at the beginning of the week that just 5.7% of hospital doctors were off sick because of COVID-19, the Royal College of Physicians conducted its own survey of more than 2,500 front-line workers and found the rate was actually 14.6%.

READ: Boris Johnson has been moved into the ICU for coronavirus

The government claims to have already distributed a lot of PPE to front-line workers and has established a hotline to allow those workers to request new supplies.

The government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak is currently being led by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who took over from Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Johnson has spent three nights in intensive care after testing positive for coronavirus last week.

Officials said Thursday that Johnson’s condition is “improving” and he is now sitting up in bed.

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Cover: The Telegraph/Facebook