Q&A with anonymous Registered Nurse regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19)


*For the purpose of this interview, the interviewee preferred to remain anonymous.

What is your profession?

“I am a registered nurse with my BSN and CMSRN.”

What is COVID-19 and why is it a public health risk?

“COVID-19 is a specific strain of a virus that is transmitted by droplet.”

How is COVID-19 spread?

“[It is spread by] droplet: coughing, sneezing, touching counters that haven’t been wiped or cleaned that had been in contact with someone who was feverish [or] coughing and not taking precautions.”

According to the Senior Director of Infection Prevention at John Hopkins Hospital, the flu and COVID-19 have similar effects. If so, why is the flu easily treated and COVID-19 is not as easily treated?

“COVID-19 is so difficult to treat because it is a virus that is respiratory in nature and attacks people with weakened immunity and comorbidities such as diabetes. However, the survival rate based on [World Health Organization] is greater than 80% without needing medical assistance.” 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, COVID-19 is a novel virus. What does this mean? How does this affect managing it?

“Just like in the past, [similar to] what we saw with H1N1, a novel virus is a type of virus we see commonly but the strain has changed. Coronavirus has been around since I’ve been a nurse for six years, [and] this strain is new and, from the research based [on] studies I’ve read, from Wuhan, China in 2019. It affects its spread because it’s easy to transmit. The transmission rate is high in COVID-19 but not as high as other illnesses [like Measles].”

How can this crisis be alleviated? What can people do on an individual level to slow the spread of the virus?

“Support each other. Stop panic buying. Washing hands and avoiding touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth. Pick up a hobby that involves working with your hands. Please watch something that isn’t the news. Call an old friend. Make a Tik Tok.”

What is social distancing and why should it be practiced?

“Social distancing needs to be practiced to protect the vulnerable [people] in our communities. People who have current medical conditions like an immune disorder, cystic fibrosis, COPD, emphysema, heart failure, high blood pressure, and diabetes have higher significance of death if they contract the disease. If everyone who had these conditions got sick at once, there wouldn’t be enough beds and medical staff to treat everyone. China built a hospital the size of the ones in West Michigan in three days because of all of the infected people. That’s incredible. Social distancing doesn’t simply mean staying indoors. It’s more about protecting ourselves.”

Is the nation overreacting to this pandemic by shutting everything down? Does the media inflate its effects and what sources should people trust to receive information from?

“The media has hyper-inflated this to an extreme, to an indescribable degree. The CDC and the WHO [are reliable sources to receive information from].”

If people have anxiety because of COVID-19, what are ways to alleviate this fear?

“This is a crisis the world is going through. Journal about it, whether it’s through writing, pictures, or activities. This kind of ties into what we can do on an individual level as well. At the end of the day, this isn’t the first time we’ve been challenged as a human race. We’ve been challenged [before]. It’s just the first time with media readily accessed in our hands [all the time]. As an individual, find something you want to do that will make you a better person when this is done.”

Although many people are doing their own parts in “flattening the curve” of the virus’ spread, health professionals are directly confronting it. For this reason, would you consider you and your colleagues heroes?

“I couldn’t imagine going through a crisis like this without my coworkers. I don’t want to sound boisterous, but I’ve considered anyone who devoted themselves to taking care of others as heroes before COVID-19. Nursing and retirement workers, especially, [are] in my heart right now. They need a lot of respect because they are taking care of the population most at risk.”