A nurse’s warning

Jeff Markham / FEMA A ventilator and patient monitor next to a hospital bed at a military field hospital .

Reopening the economy while the virus is still freely circulating will cost lives. This illness has taken a massive toll on my patients, my coworkers and myself over the past month. We have watched our patients, seemingly on the upswing, suddenly slip away before our eyes. We have watched our coworkers go out on sick leave and never come back.

Without question, the partial shutdown of the economy has led to a decrease in hospital admissions and deaths. Without the shutdown, our already overburdened hospital system would have collapsed under the pressure of skyrocketing admissions.

 As it stands, our hospital-wide census is decreasing and we are beginning to close our emergency COVID units. If the economy is reopened prematurely, we will see a resurgence in deaths of patients and the health care workers caring for them.

Sarah Dowd is a medical-surgical nurse at Harlem Hospital in New York City and a member of the New York State Nurses Association.