'This is our generation’s D-Day': As US nears 500,000 COVID-19 deaths, weary health care workers fight on amid the heartbreak

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Covid 19 updateNearly a year into a life-altering pandemic, many Americans are fed up with wearing masks, desperate for a return to normalcy and numb to the relentless stream of grim numbers, such as the 500,000 COVID-19 deaths the USA is about to surpass.

Health care workers don’t want to hear any of that.

They have been working endless hours amid constant death and suffering, forsaking time off and exposing themselves to the disease, leaving them exhausted and with no real indication of when the pandemic will relent.

“There’s definitely some tangible fatigue on the health care workers’ side, being sick of COVID and sick of people disregarding public health guidance, getting sick and expecting us to defer another vacation or put off something else,” said Eric Cioe-Peña, an emergency room physician running a COVID-19 field hospital in Staten Island, New York. “I’ve been telling people who thank me for this, ‘Just tell yourself and everyone you know to wear a mask when you’re out in public places. Don’t clap, don’t give me baked goods. I don’t need any of that. I need you to wear a mask and not get COVID.’”

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