A new nurse has revealed the punishing toll of treating coronavirus patients after uploading pictures of herself eight months apart.
In the pre-pandemic snap, the 27-year-old healthcare worker – known only as Kathryn – looks fresh-faced before she graduated, next to recent image of her face scarred by PPE (personal protective equipment) during a weekend shift.
It has since been shared 52,000 times on Twitter, with many saying the photo highlights the strains doctors and nurses battling Covid-19 are facing.
Kathryn, who works at a hospital in the US state of Tennessee, says the worst scar – the wound on her nose – normally disappears just in time for her to begin the next 12-and-a-half-hour shift.
She said: "On Saturday night I was in the middle of a shift, had just come out of a patient's room, and had just taken all my PPE off.
"I had the image in my head of the graduation, and I wanted to show the difference a couple of months can make, and the reality of being a nurse in the pandemic.
"Generally most of the marks fade within a few hours, but the one of my nose disappears just in time for the start of my next shift."
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The nurse said the hospital experience a surge of coronavirus cases in July, and is now in the middle of another spike.
Kathryn predicts things will get worse around Thanksgiving and Christmas as families and friends meet up, increasing the rate of infection.
She said: "I've resigned myself to the fact that things are going to be at their worst yet in a few weeks, but I just want it to happen now, so we can get it over with.
"We've kind of been in disaster mode, the entire time I've been a nurse. I've no idea what it's like to be a nurse under normal circumstances.
"There’s an antagonism now between doctors, nurses and the general public that there hasn’t been before."
There have been 4,220 deaths in the state of Tennessee and 257,000 deaths in the USA. The worldwide death toll stands at 1.4 million people.
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