The first wave of emergency medical technicians who contracted COVID-19 and survived are now returning to the job, armed with a first-hand understanding of the disease and a new empathy for the patients.
"I was able to be more in touch with my patients who called, because I knew exactly how they were feeling," said firefighter/EMT Shantice Samuels, who has just returned to work in Washington, DC, after recovering from a case herself.
"The toughest symptom for me was the shortness of breath, and the body aches," she told CNN affiliate WJLA.
"When they're talking to people, the questions they ask put them in better tune with what's going on," said Assistant Fire Chief John Donnelly of the District of Columbia Fire & EMS Department, who has also recovered. "The other thing that they're able to do is provide assurance to somebody and say, I've survived this, you can relax, we're going to get you help, these are the things that are going to happen next."