A heart wrenching photo has been shared on social media showing the reality for patients who are being treated in hospital after contracting COVID-19.
The picture shows a patient’s hand clasping two rubber gloves that are filled with water.
The user wrote it was “a heartbreaking sign of the times”.
The idea came from a nurse who was trying to alleviate the suffering of a intubated patient with COVID-19 and decided to fill two latex gloves with warm water from the shower.
She used them to warm the patient’s hand, which had become cold during intubation, due to the difficulty of circulation — but also to provide affection.
The nursing technician added that the restrictions on physical contact imposed by the pandemic made many people feel alone.
Social media responded in shock to the photo, with many applauding health professionals.
“I am in awe of the human who was compassionate enough to think of this,” tweeted one woman.
“This photo is incredibly sad. It confirms for me that #CovidZero is the only moral goal. Nothing matters more than human life, no borders, travel, freedom or economy is more important than life,” wrote one man.
“When this is all over we are really going to have to be there for all the medical and hospital employees who are having to witness this in real time. I can’t imagine how broken their hearts are,” another said.
It is believed the picture comes from Brazil, where deaths from the virus have hit 345,000.
Brazil’s huge death toll
Authorities in Brazil have been forced to make the horrendous decision to dig up the bodies buried years ago in graveyards to make room for the mounting dead as the nation crashes through new records for COVID-19 cases and deaths.
At least 66,000 people in Brazil died of COVID-19 in March — more than twice as many fatalities as the country’s second-deadliest month of the pandemic, July 2020.
Brazil was already the second-worst hit nation by the pandemic after the US, but things have slid even further downhill in the past month.
On April 3, Brazil’s health ministry registered its highest daily COVID-19 death toll for the second day in a row, with the virus killing 3869 people.
The situation is so bad that Brazil now currently accounts for about a quarter of COVID-19 daily deaths worldwide. Experts predict it will only get worse amid a painfully slow rollout of vaccines and President Jair Bolsonaro’s attacks on efforts to restrict movement.
Situation worsens in the US
America is once again bracing for uncertainty as coronavirus continues to tear through large parts of the nation, with five states being smashed by skyrocketing cases in recent days.
Data from Johns Hopkins University shows that infections in New York, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey have accounted for about 43 per cent of new coronavirus cases over the last week, despite being home to just 22 per cent of the US population.
The worst-hit state is Michigan in the nation’s northeast which is averaging more than 6600 cases a day, compared to an average of 1350 daily cases five weeks ago.
California and Texas, which have vastly larger populations than Michigan, are reporting less than half its number of daily infections.
Dr Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive, said there had been a “significant increase” in cases – and that hospitalisations are going up as well.
“Michiganders need to double down and take the steps to help stop the spread of this virus,” she said.
According to state data, hospitalisation rates are doubling every 12 to 14 days, meaning Michigan is quickly approaching the peaks seen in December.
The surge of coronavirus cases is once again overwhelming hospitals – but they too have noticed a shift in the age of patients.
Younger and otherwise healthy people infected with COVID-19 are winding up in emergency rooms and intensive care units, doctors say.
One of them was Fred Romankewiz, 54, a construction worker, who told CNN that he was about to get his vaccination but cancelled because he felt unwell.
It turned out he had COVID and the father, who is otherwise healthy and has no medical conditions, quickly found himself in hospital.
“I felt like I went 10 rounds with Mike Tyson,” Mr Romankewiz told CNN.
“I was absolutely physically exhausted. I mean, I felt like I had been beat up; I felt like I had been in a car accident. I mean, it was crazy.”