'We had to fight to get a mask': COVID-19 medical staff burning out at alarming rate

Under-resourced and over-stretched
Under-resourced and over-stretched Copyright afp
Copyright afp
By Euronews
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Many health workers are traumatised by the suffering and grief they see on a daily basis.


For thousands working on the front line of the pandemic, the cracks are beginning to show.

The battle against the COVID-19 had taken a heavy toll on medical professionals everywhere and it's not just the relentless workload. Many are traumatised by the suffering and grief they see on a daily basis.

Nolwenn le Bronzex is among those for whom the stress was too much. She gave up a career in nursing in to become a pastry cook and has never looked back.

"Psychologically, the situation was very difficult. We worked in isolated care units, with safety equipment, masks," she explains. "We had to fight to get a mask, and that was horrible. We took risks for our own safety, and the safety of our loved ones. And also all these patients, they weren't allowed to see their family, they were alone, dying alone."

With Europe still in the grip of the second wave of the pandemic, the gruelling task of caring for coronavirus patients appears far from over.

The World Health Organization's regional director says over 4 million coronavirus cases have been reported so far this month and is warning people to respect the rules.

Hans Kluge did admit there is light at the end of the tunnel. He says lockdowns in Europe can be avoided - if at least 95% of people wear masks to fight the pandemic.

However, he also urged that caution is needed as restrictions are gradually loosened.

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