Healthcare workers hailed after pictures of their mask-scarred faces emerge online

PHOTO: Facebook via Benjamin Ong; Twitter via @PDchina

Anecdotes about discrimination against healthcare workers have emerged during the course of the coronavirus outbreak, and it’s probably important to combat the negativity by expressing support for the very frontliners working to fight the viral spread. 

A visually arresting representation of the long, exhausting hours they’ve put in at hospitals and clinics: their weary faces scarred and marked by the tight face masks, air-purifying respirators and other personal protection they have to keep on during the duration of their shift. 

Don’t forget that they have to keep the gear on pretty tight (to the point of discomfort) due to their direct contact with patients infected by coronavirus. 

Infection numbers and death tolls aren’t seeing any slowdown in China (the number of people killed has already passed 1,000), and healthcare workers there can’t afford to stop for breaks. A nurse based at a hospital in Hubei — the province at the epicentre of the viral outbreak — told BBC that staff aren’t allowed to eat proper meals, use the restroom, or even take a short breather during their 10-hour shifts. 

"At the end of the shift, when we take off the suits, we'll find our clothes are completely wet with sweat," the nurse shared with BBC. “Our forehead, nose, neck and face are left with deep marks by the tight masks and sometimes even cuts."

PHOTOS: Twitter / @PDchina

Chinese newspaper People’s Daily recently posted pictures on Twitter of these overworked nurses, whose bruised faces speak volumes about the toll of their jobs. 

Over in Singapore, a medical worker has also spoken out about the exhaustion and frustration he feels working in the front lines of the battle against the coronavirus infection. Benjamin Ong wrote on Facebook about how he feels getting his leave frozen and his wedding reception cancelled due to the circumstances.

He does not appreciate the sour looks and sentiments from other commuters on public transport either when all he wants is to just go home and rest after a tiring shift. 

My battle scars . Life as a front line during this period ain’t easy, to be honest it sucks. You kiss your love ones...

Posted by Benjamin Ong on Saturday, February 8, 2020

Moral support

Thankfully, not everyone’s ignorant. Thanks to the emotive pictures and stories of medical workers, people have been expressing their support for the workers on the front line of the outbreak. 

Just last weekend, a father and his two daughters handed out bags of comfort food at a hospital as an appreciative gesture for healthcare workers. 

PHOTO: Facebook screengrab

ilyas@asiaone.com

For the latest updates on the coronavirus virus, visit here.