Doctors and nurses in California released a harrowing video begging people not to gather for the holidays, saying it will 'cripple our hospital system'
A patient lies on a stretcher in the hallway of a congested emergency room at a hospital in Apple Valley, California on December 23, 2020. Mario Tama / Getty Images
Frontline employees in California shot a video urging people to stay home and not to congregate for the upcoming vacation.
In the video, doctors said a lack of social distancing could "cripple" the hospital system and lead to more deaths.
The nurses also discussed the devastating impact the state's recent surge in COVID-19 cases had on their mental health.
Earlier this week health officials reported that intensive care units in the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California were already at full capacity, leaving no room for new patients.
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As California grapples with a surge in case numbers and an alarming number of COVID-19 deaths, the state's frontline workers are asking people to stay home and not congregate for the holidays.
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Doctors and nurses from three California health systems - Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health, and Dignity Health - made this claim in a video posted on YouTube Wednesday.
In the clip, several workers warned that the decision to celebrate the Christmas and New Years holidays indoors could overwhelm the state's healthcare system, sharing the devastating impact the surge in cases has had on their mental health.
The video also contained footage of patients lying on stretchers in front of crowded hospitals.
"This increase is beyond anything anyone could have imagined," said Dr. Pravin Acharya, an emergency doctor, in the video. "If people keep gathering for the upcoming holidays, we will cripple our hospital system."
The hospital system that Acharya works for - Kaiser Permanente - said Tuesday that 100% of their intensive care beds had been used. They are now preparing to double the rooms in their 36 hospitals to handle the 220% increase in COVID-19 patients in the last month alone.
An intensive care specialist, Dr. Vanessa Walker also said in the video, "If we continue to gather indoors as quickly as we are, many more of us won't see next year's vacation."
According to a Los Angeles Times tracker, California has recorded an average of 252 coronavirus deaths per day for the past week, up 73% from two weeks earlier.
Last week, the state reported the highest daily death toll in the entire pandemic - 398 deaths in a 24-hour period, the New York Times reported.
The United States remains the hardest hit country in the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University. They recorded nearly 18.5 million cases and more than 326,000 deaths.
Graphic showing active COVID-19 cases in California as of early December 24, 2020. Worldometer
In Wednesday's video, doctors also voiced their concerns about how health care workers are dealing with this alarming surge.
Acharya warned, "I am concerned about the stamina and mental health of us providers, our nurses. What if they get sick? Who will come to the hospital and work?"
Hans Vega, a nurse, also said on the video, "I do all of this work for your families, for your friends, for people you might know, and some people out there don't take it seriously. Sometimes it is." feels like a slap in the face. "
Healthcare workers in the U.S. and around the world are facing a mental crisis in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Psychologists told Insiders in April that the stress could lead to chronic mental health problems if left untreated.
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