One of them is Dr. Nicola Sgarbi, 35, who unknowingly became part of a growing photo trend of health workers coping with this exponential rise in sick patients.
Almost everything about Sgarbi’s shift on March 13 was part of his new normal since the outbreak: working 12 hours to treat Covid-19 patients while wearing protective equipment. But at about 8 p.m. that day, he stripped off his face mask and snapped a quick selfie, something he rarely does.
“I mainly took the photo for two reasons. Firstly, to send it to my partner, to tell her that I had finished my shift at work and that I was on my way home, slightly bruised,” Sgarbi told CNN over email. “Secondly, to show it to my 1-year-old daughter when she will have grown up. I will be telling her about this moment.”
“My heart is grateful and my mind is heavy seeing medical professionals all over the world putting themselves at risk battling against this outbreak. I think the medical community has found various ways of coping through social media outlets,” Dong told CNN in a Reddit message.
“Our uniformed readers should make sure they do not contribute to the growing problem of supply shortages (ie: N95 masks, face masks, disinfectants, gloves, etc.) and consider donating to local hospitals,” she said.
A portrait was taken on February 17 of the marks left on the face of nurse Cao Shan after working in the isolation ward in Wuhan’s Jinyintan Hospital, designated for coronavirus patients.
“She and her husband, a doctor also working at the hospital, have slept in the vehicle for 23 nights to avoid bringing viral hazards around, save commuting time, and give their assigned nearby hotel room to colleagues,” the photo caption read.
These photos are an important oral tradition that will hopefully provide a cautionary tale to the general public, said Dr. Anna Yaffee, director of the Global Health in Emergency Medicine Section at Emory University. Yaffee hopes these images are a powerful reminder of the realities health care professionals face on the front lines every day.
“The general public may not be aware of the realities of health care in general and certainly not during this pandemic, but I hope that sharing the images reinforces the point that there are people out there who are working tirelessly around the clock to provide lifesaving supportive care to those who are sick, from coronavirus as well as from every other ailment,” Yaffee told CNN through email.
“We aren’t heroes, we are just doing our jobs, and right now our jobs are asking more of us in a time when we have fewer resources to work with. We are doing this because we care.”
Sgarbi does not feel like a hero. He’s just a “normal person who loves his job and who, now more than ever, is proud and proud to do it by giving all himself,” he wrote on Facebook.
“I have never seen something quite like this in my career,” Sgarbi told CNN. “I believe that in order to get through this extremely demanding time, we need the effort and commitment of each and every one of us.”