The story of a Swedish nurse assistant: “THE ICU was so crowded that I contracted COVID-19

2022-05-06 0 By

“Ventilator hoses and monitoring equipment are everywhere…I’m really shocked!”Chahrestein, an assistant nurse and medical student, recalls the exhaustion of working in the intensive care unit (ICU) at Dandruud Hospital in The Swedish capital, Stockholm.People wait to take the subway in Stockholm, Sweden, On February 10, 2021.At the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, the then 22-year-old did not fully realize the seriousness of the situation until she stepped into the intensive care unit for the first time.”It was only then that I realized how serious COVID-19 patients could become.”Chahristan told Xinhua that she first witnessed the death of a COVID-19 patient in March 2020.Demand for novel Coronavirus testing equipment and basic protective equipment, such as disposable protective suits, is so high that hospitals are being forced to make their own protective equipment, she said.At the end of 2020, as the number of confirmed cases surged in Sweden, Chahrestein witnessed a steady influx of COVID-19 patients into emergency departments, “leaving intensive care units overcrowded and medical staff under great pressure.”A man wearing a mask walks in front of a bus in Stockholm, Sweden, On May 6, 2021.Novel Coronavirus infections have also hit many medical workers.Chahristan is one of them.”I was diagnosed with COVID-19 shortly after working at Dandrud Hospital.I had a terrible headache, fever and runny nose, and I lost my sense of smell.”She said.After about a week, Chahristan’s worst symptoms disappeared, but it took longer for her sense of smell to return.Soon, she was back in the INTENSIVE care unit.There, she worked eight hours a day at a high intensity. “We had a huge workload, and a lot of doctors were working overtime,” she said.In April 2020, about one fifth of the approximately 500 workers tested for novel Coronavirus at the Dandruud Hospital developed antibodies.Workers involved in treating and caring for COVID-19 patients have higher antibody positive rates, meaning health care workers are at higher risk of infection.Since the outbreak, Sweden has adopted a relatively relaxed policy to combat the epidemic, mainly through various recommendations to the public.Chahristan admitted that the perception that wearing masks does more harm than good is so ingrained in many Swedes that most people are reluctant to wear them.A no-sitting zone is marked on a bench at a shopping mall in Stockholm, Sweden, On February 10, 2021.Sweden’s handling of the outbreak was “significantly delayed” and initial protective measures were “insufficient to stop or even significantly limit the spread of the virus,” according to the country’s second interim report released by the National COVID-19 Investigation Committee in November.In addition, Sweden’s preparedness for the outbreak was “inadequate,” with “a severe lack of protective equipment during the first wave of the outbreak in spring 2020, resulting in health care workers sometimes having to work without protection.”The Swedish Public Health Agency has been actively advising people to get vaccinated.As of Feb 4, 83.7 percent of people aged 12 and above had completed two doses of vaccine, and 51.3 percent of people aged 18 and above had received the third dose of vaccine, among a population of about 10.4 million.A man wearing a mask makes his way to a COVID-19 vaccination center in Stockholm, Sweden, On May 6, 2021.However, the number of new COVID-19 cases in Sweden has been on the rise in a single day.According to Sweden’s Public Health Agency, 28,129 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the country as of April 4, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 2,287,785.A total of 16,180 deaths were reported.As a health worker, Chahristan said she was concerned that unequal global vaccine distribution could lead to low vaccination rates, especially in low-income countries.”This poses a risk not only to individuals but to the world.When you help other countries, you also help yourself.”Source: Xinhua International headlines process editor: TF022