We’ve all seen the pleas on social media for personal protective equipment from medical personnel and America has responded in amazing ways by volunteering to make them, 3D-print them, fly them in from foreign countries, and more. The president has ordered entire factories retooled to make them, but the complaints persist, even though many hospitals deny shortages. In some of the videos, nurses are crying, like the Jussie Smollett of the nursing profession, who turned out to be less than truthful, but even so, America is convinced there is a PPE shortage and everyone wants our medical professionals to have what they need to fight the coronavirus.
The American people are so committed to fighting this pandemic they are willingly giving up most of their liberties, graduations, vacations, weddings, worship, and even funerals. It’s not fun. Contrary to the condescending “All you’re asked to do is watch Netflix” meme, most of us are working from home while trying to school our children and play psychologist for them as they sink into depression, scared and confused. Many others are sitting on the phone day after day trying to get through to the unemployment office because they were laid off and they only have enough money left in the bank for one more trip to the grocery store. Others are facing hospital stays alone with no advocate to speak for them to make sure they are getting what they need. People are dying without last rites. None of us are having any fun.
— John M. Ahern (@JohnMAhern3) April 10, 2020
@PhillyMayor I am a physician working the night shift on the front lines caring for an exponentially growing number of COVID patients in Philadelphia. What is Philly doing to provide more personal protective equipment so we can properly take care of our patients #PPEshortage
— Michael Weintraub, MD (@MWeintraubMD) April 3, 2020
#covid19 is a hoax
We have it contained
It will go away by April
There is no lack of #PPE
👇🏼THIS IS #covid
It is spreading
People are sick and dying
There is a #PPEshortage
Please #StayHome #Covid_19 pic.twitter.com/22Ar9ETZZA
— Rob Ostfeld, MD, MSc (@DrOstfeld) April 6, 2020
The lack of PPE available to healthcare workers, and masks/gloves for other essential workers, is a disgrace. It’s a clear message that their work is essential, just not their lives. #PPEshortage
— Kim Nelson For Congress (@KimforSC) April 5, 2020
So imagine my surprise when trending on Twitter this week was a “feel good” story about nurses in Philadelphia cutting loose and making a Tik Tok video for “morale.” I don’t know whose morale they are boosting, but it did nothing for mine. Here they are yukking it up in full PPE, something other medical professionals in their own city are begging for. They’re wasting what now cannot be used with patients because who knows what it was exposed to during the rehearsal and the filming of this little number.
The level-up is real! Shoutout to the nurses at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. (📽️: @tjuh_pool via IG) pic.twitter.com/zHRTR248JF
— ESSENCE (@Essence) April 8, 2020
I thought hospitals were apocalyptic “war zones”? That’s what the New York Times told me. They told me that ICU units were packed with dying patients with medical staff pushed to the breaking point. If Philly’s Jefferson Hospital staff has this much time on their hands and this much PPE to waste, then perhaps they should send their bored staff to work in NYC and take their spare PPE with them.
This group of medical people is the “swab squad,” who are supposed to be swabbing the thousands of people who need testing. There doesn’t appear to be a lot of testing going on.
It is an insult to the American people who are right now sacrificing their jobs so our medical community can do theirs. SIXTEEN MILLION people out of work now see them in the parking lot doing Tik Tok dances for clicks. And by the way, where are the social distancing police? These people are far closer together than six feet.
This is not fun or cute or inspiring. It’s absolute garbage. While these people are having a great time getting likes and shares and pats on the back on Tik Tok, American families are getting laid off, unable to buy groceries, facing isolation, getting ticketed for trying to have a birthday parade for the child whose party was canceled, unable to access life-saving PTSD treatment, getting arrested for praying outside, unable to go to AA meetings, unable to live a normal existence while being preached at by self-righteous medical professionals pointing their fingers at us and shaming us for being frustrated with the lockdown and scared for our economic future. Meanwhile, they’re practicing their dance moves and hoping for a viral hit.
I hear the critics now, “They’re just blowing off steam! They’re just having fun! They work so haaaaaard!” Yet, when Americans in lockdown try to blow off any steam by, oh I don’t know, running on the beach or playing in the park, they are harassed by police. If we’re truly “all in this together,” then I don’t want to see nurses and doctors yukking it up on social media. I actually don’t want to see them on social media at all. Just do the job. Get us back to work and we’ll all be grateful. But taking up time and resources for idiotic memes like this is just grating on my last raw nerve. The message this sends to Americans is that this outbreak must be under control in Philidephia for their medical personnel to be having dance breaks. Perhaps that city and others like it with bored medical staff should come out of lockdown and go to work repairing the economy.
Attempts to contact Jefferson Hospital for comment were unsuccessful.
Megan Fox is the author of “Believe Evidence; The Death of Due Process from Salome to #MeToo,” and host of The Fringe podcast. Follow on Twitter @MeganFoxWriter