Angelica: Right. And there’s a lot of reuse right now, to be honest. We’re not supposed to be reusing when you’re seeing a patient who has known coronavirus, but with kind of everyone else we are reusing masks, which is not hygienic and it’s not safe for us, because if you think about it, you know, right now our emergency room doctors, for example, are wearing goggles and a face mask at all times. But if you touch that face mask, once you touch your goggles, once you touch your computer, unless you’re getting a new mask or you're cleaning your goggles religiously around the clock, you are kind of defeating the entire purpose of containing this. Things are not good in the hospital right now, I’ll just say.
Hamblin: What is the mood of the health-care workers? Your co-residents, nurses, and everyone else—are people getting worried for their own health?
Angelica: I would say things are pretty tense right now in the hospital. I think in general, most Americans, most New Yorkers are pretty anxious right now. And I’d say health-care workers have that baseline anxiety, plus the addition of their own safety and also just the regular work anxiety that we already have. We work 27-hour shifts. We work 14-to-18-hour shifts; we’re already kind of stressed as it is. So, yes, things are pretty tense right now. I’d say that there’s a lot of concern about what’s coming. I think that right now things are manageable. Our job is, yeah, maybe a little bit more tense than usual, but it’s still manageable. But I think that we all are seeing that it’s going to become unmanageable very soon. It kind of feels like we’re all just watching a car crash happen really slowly, and you just can’t stop it.
Hamblin: What is going to run out first? Is it the ventilators or the masks or [...] If people don’t feel protected and you start running low on masks or rationing them in ways that the staff feel uncomfortable, or if the staff get sick, you could simply run out of people to operate ventilators versus actually running out of ventilators. I don’t mean to pose these terrible scenarios. I just, you know, am trying to plan out what can possibly be done to prevent this situation.
Angelica: Right. The masks and the other PPE are running out right now. I think that’s the most urgent issue. And we are working on getting more. I’ve kind of taken it upon myself, at least in my program, to be kind of this mask collector. Literally, today I drove around New York City and picked up random donations from different people, which is how I’m spending my days off.
Wells: Where are you getting donations? Like, who has masks?
Angelica: So starting a couple days ago, I have just started calling and emailing random businesses that I can think of. I’ve gotten some donations from veterinary clinics. I’m reaching out to different departments like research labs. On my list is dental clinics. I actually just got some donations from an art department, from their ceramics department. I also recently posted things on social media, and I’ve gotten a lot of responses from people who just, like, have two extra boxes at home, and they want to send them or drop them off.