Doctors and nurses say they are alarmed by reports that multiple health workers in the United States have been sickened by a deadly coronavirus and that hospitals and other healthcare facilities appear to have become hot spots for the spread of infections.
On Sunday, health officials announced that two staff members at a Northern California hospital had contracted COVID-19 from a patient. A day earlier, officials said that a health worker at a Seattle nursing home had been hospitalized with the disease and that several more staff members would probably test positive in the coming days.
Medical workers on the front lines of an epidemic often make up a disproportionate number of cases because of their close contact with sick patients and repeated exposure to a virus. Some hospital staffers say they fear delays in testing for COVID-19 in the U.S. have exposed them to the virus already.
In the United States, the conversations taking place in hospital hallways and clinic break rooms are heightened by the specter of China’s death toll, which includes several medical workers who have died not only of COVID-19 infection but of ailments caused by overwork and fatigue.