We must protect our healthcare workers; now!

We can’t allow our health care and public health workers to remain in short supply of personally protective equipment (PPE). It’s not enough for the administration and state governments to say that “plans to increase global manufacturing are underway,” as the CDC states in its recent guidance on the matter.

If our Emergency Department, hospital, clinic, home care, public health, and other front-line workers are not fully protected, we risk having our hospitals and health providers overwhelmed, our work force becoming patients with some dying, and leaving even fewer qualified professionals to care for our COVID-19 and regular care needs.

This is not only possible, it’s happening today in Balsamo, Italy. In a community where a 1,000-bed hospital has been completely overwhelmed, and where doctors are now treating other doctors and peers for COVID-19 because of the sheer volume of daily cases and the limited supply of personally protective equipment. They are in sheer crisis mode with virtually every citizen caught in the cross-hair of this situation; with no immediate end in sight. The same is happening at a 400-bed in Milan, and in many other places as well.

Finger-pointing and blame for inadequate testing capabilities must give way to action to take care of our healthcare workers. This is an avoidable scenario that need not happen. We’ve seen the outcome of inaction. The administration and state leaders will be to blame and should be voted out of office this fall if we don’t do whatever it takes to increase production and get PPE in the hands of our front-line healthcare workers.