As President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take office in two months, he heard Wednesday from a firefighter, nurses and a caregiver who described chronic shortages of protective equipment, tests and contact tracing to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
The virus, combined with rebuilding the economy, is the biggest challenge facing Biden. The online roundtable came as the number of cases nationwide grows rapidly, with more than 11 million cases nationwide and nearly 250,000 deaths so far.
Mary Turner, an intensive-care nurse who is president of Minnesota Nurses Association, began crying as she described holding the hand of a dying patient or caring for a colleague who had fallen ill. She said earlier in the pandemic, nurses were using single-use masks for 10 shifts. While caring for COVID-19 patients since February, Turner said she still hasn’t been tested.
“You’re kidding me,” Biden said during the roundtable from The Queen theater in Wilmington, Delaware.