Medical Workers Risk Lives at Work, Face Attacks on the Way Home
Every night at seven o'clock, New Yorkers step outside their homes to cheer for the medical workers who are treating coronavirus patients. Horns from automobiles and police vehicles add to the cheering.
Some New York restaurants are making meals for doctors and nurses working in the city's hospitals.
Last week, U.S. military airplanes flew over New York and other cities as a show of thanks to healthcare workers.
The World Health Organization, or WHO, and top nursing officials have called on countries to protect nurses and other health workers from physical and verbal attacks.
Howard Catton is head of the International Council of Nurses. He said that about 100 medical workers are reported to have died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Many nurses were among the dead. Catton spoke to reporters last week.
Even before the virus began to spread, many nurses had difficult jobs. About 28 million people work as nurses. That represents 59 percent of all health workers worldwide.
Last week, WHO officials, the Nursing Now campaign, and the International Council of Nurses released the first "State of the World's Nursing Report."
The number of new nurses does not meet the expected needs in many countries, the report said. It points to some countries where many nurses are nearing retirement age. It said that trained health workers must be ready to do the work of those who have retired.报告称，新增护士人数无法满足许多国家预期的需求。报告指出，一些国家的很多护士都接近了退休年龄。报告称，必须要有训练有素的医务人员准备好接替退休护士的工作。
The report estimates eight percent more workers will be needed each year.
Nursing shortages are an issue in many parts of Africa, in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Venezuela, the report added.报告还说，在非洲许多地区、阿富汗、巴基斯坦、也门和委内瑞拉，护士短缺都是一个问题。
Discrimination and attacks
One surprising fact is that a little over a third of countries - thirty-seven percent - reported measures in place to prevent attacks on health workers.
Some workers have been attacked during the COVID-19 crisis because people fear contagion. A nurse in Mexico reported that someone threw a mixture of water and chlorine at her as she walked home.
Howard Catton said there have been reports from around the world of abuse of health workers.
It is completely unacceptable, Catton said. He called for governments to stop such abuse and to make sure that public health messages are clear and fact-based.
The WHO's Giorgio Cometto said it was a relatively new experience for people to see health workers as a possible risk, "as opposed to being a solution to the current crisis."
Baroness Mary Watkins, chair of Nursing Now, noted nurses have been attacked in the past. That was during outbreaks of Ebola and HIV, the virus responsible for the disease AIDS.
I'm Jill Robbins.