DOUBTS: Doc­tors bat­tle virus and skep­tics.

The Philadel­phia In­quirer, United States of Amer­ica, 9 Oc­to­ber 2020, https://www.pressreade­­ti­cle/2815479983­56920

COVID-19 News - - Front Page -

MIS­SION, Kan. — Treat­ing the sick and dy­ing isn’t even the tough­est part for nurse Amelia Mont­gomery as the coro­n­avirus surges in her cor­ner of red Amer­ica.

It’s deal­ing with pa­tients and rel­a­tives who don’t be­lieve the virus is real, refuse to wear masks, and de­mand treat­ments like hy­drox­y­chloro­quine, which Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has cham­pi­oned even though ex­perts say it is not ef­fec­tive against the scourge that has killed more than 210,000 in the U.S.

Mont­gomery finds her­self, like so many other doc­tors and nurses, in a world where the pol­i­tics of the cri­sis are com­pli­cat­ing treat­ment ef­forts, with some peo­ple re­sist­ing even get­ting tested.

It’s un­clear how Trump’s bout with the virus will af­fect the sit­u­a­tion, but some doc­tors aren’t op­ti­mistic. Af­ter a few days of treat­ment at a mil­i­tary hos­pi­tal, the pres­i­dent tweeted Mon­day, “Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dom­i­nate your life. … I feel bet­ter than I did 20 years ago!”

Af­ter one tough shift in the coro­n­avirus unit at Cox South Hos­pi­tal in Spring­field, Mo., Mont­gomery went onto Face­book to vent her frus­tra­tions about car­ing for pa­tients who didn’t so­cially dis­tance be­cause they didn’t be­lieve the virus was real. The hos­pi­tal later shared her post on its web­site.

She com­plained that some peo­ple de­mand hy­drox­y­chloro­quine, an an­ti­malaria drug, and think the only pa­tients who get re­ally sick have un­der­ly­ing health prob­lems.

“The majority of peo­ple don’t un­der­stand and can’t pic­ture what we are see­ing. That has been frus­trat­ing for all of us,” Mont­gomery said in an in­ter­view, adding: “It wears.”

Com­bat­ing virus skep­tics is a bat­tle across the coun­try.

In Ge­or­gia, at Au­gusta Univer­sity Med­i­cal Cen­ter, visi­tors have tried to get around the mask re­quire­ment by wear­ing face cov­er­ings made of fish­net and other ma­te­rial with vis­i­ble holes, some­thing the hos­pi­tal has dubbed “ma­li­cious com­pli­ance.”

Peo­ple also have shown up with video cam­eras in an at­tempt to col­lect proof the virus is a hoax, said Phillip Coule, the health sys­tem’s chief med­i­cal of­fi­cer, who con­tracted the virus in July and has seen two staff mem­bers die.

“Just imag­ine that while you are car­ing for your own staff that are dy­ing from this dis­ease, and while you are try­ing to keep your­self safe, and you are try­ing to keep your fam­ily safe, and you are try­ing to deal with a dis­ease that such lit­tle is known about, and then to have some­body tell you that it is all a hoax af­ter you have been deal­ing with that all day,” he said. “Imag­ine the emo­tional dis­tress that that causes.”

Coro­n­avirus skep­tics protest­ing out­side the Mas­sachusetts State House in Bos­ton. “The majority of peo­ple don’t un­der­stand and can’t pic­ture what we are see­ing. That has been frus­trat­ing,” one nurse said. AP, File

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