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Nurses Share Their Thoughts on Omicron Amid Holiday Surge

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The Omicron variant continues to overwhelm hospital systems across the country. The number of new COVID-19 cases has risen sharply over the last few weeks, reaching an average of 480,000. Omicron accounted for 95% of all new coronavirus infections reported in the U.S. last week, according to the CDC. Hospitalizations are up to 14,300 a day, marking a 63% increase from the week before, while the number of deaths has held steady over the past two weeks at around 1,200 a day. However, these numbers are well below the peak we saw in 2020 when everyone was unvaccinated.

Healthcare workers are getting infected with the new variant as well, taking them out of the workforce when hospitals need them most. We asked nurses on the frontlines about the latest surge and here’s what they had to say:

I had covid during the first wave (May 2020) – it was scary, nobody really knew what was happening and people were dying. I was quite unwell but didn’t need hospital care. I now have days when getting out of bed exhausts me and I can barely walk 5 minutes without stopping to catch my breath. 2 days ago, I tested positive again (I do wash my hands and wear a mask!) this time I’m tired and feel a bit fluey but nowhere near as bad as the first time… I’m also triple jabbed. I just hope this one doesn’t do any more damage to my lungs!

Carrie

Annoyed, but my savior has been being an introvert and limiting close contact with humans outside of those that I live with.

Sephora

I’m on day 12! Coughing and shortness of breath when talking and activity. Not able to go back to work yet.

Cara

I believe it’s real, but I’ve worked as a nurse for 46 years and never saw a winter season where we weren’t overrun by sick people. We dealt with many different flus and other viruses and of course were always short of staff. I remember years where hospitals were so full, they had to send patients to other hospitals. This has lasted way too long and the staffing shortages keep getting worse but sick people in the winter months is nothing new.

Therese

People really need to stop panicking about this. The majority of the patients that I had test positive have nothing more than a slight cold or a headache. Unfortunately, the Delta variant is still around and still causing havoc. People still need to be vigilant, wash their hands, wear their masks, stay away from large, close crowds, and get the vaccine. We’ll be ok with omicron.

Joanna

It’s spreading like lice at a sleepover.

Desire

Not looking forward to:

More burnout,

More short staffing issues, and

More irrational anti-science folks.

But we can do hard things and this pandemic will grow a new world. We are in the middle of a serious life altering era. Might as well roll with it.

Jennifer

No longer “resilient” – just so tired of it.

Diane

I have it now and I can’t say I am enjoying it. However, I am very thankful I am vaccinated and have my booster because I can only imagine it would be so much worse!

Megan

Day 1 & 2 – fever, unresponsive to fever meds. Day 2 was worst migraine of my life!! Day 3 – 4 a lot of coughing. Rest of the days, just tired and don’t feel ready to do anything yet.

Julia

Fully vaxxed and boosted. Multiple exposures. Haven’t gotten it yet. My patients haven’t been so lucky 😢.

Kirsten

Whole family got it… it’s flu/cold symptoms. In and out like a hurricane. We’re all recovered! We’re vaccinated too.

Debbie

What I am really tired of hearing is the ridiculous media spin out from everything… TMZ talked about how hospitals are just full of unvaccinated people who have the new Covid-19 strain. In DFW… we have just as many vaccinated as unvaccinated in the hospitals. As a hospice nurse, seeing assisted living and SNFs full of vaccinated and booster recipients getting Covid-19 all over again. Taking care of patients that are dying from their primary diagnosis with the accelerated assistance of Covid.

Katrina

Tired of it all! Sure, the positive count is high but admissions to hospitals are less since people are vaccinated. This will be our new flu, with yearly boosters, time to learn to live with it. We can’t keep going into lock down, it’s getting pretty depressing. 😥

Veronique

Sadly, I don’t believe the “variants” will ever end.

Diane

Exhausted while I watch it explode all around. All the while knowing us HCW are going to have to clean up the mess. I’d love to forget it and move on but some of us don’t have that luxury.

Kimberly

I’m sick and tired of this bull! The more people get tested the more people get Covid. If they would stop testing, Covid would be back to being common cold and we could go on with life!

Nikki

I find it funny how nurses on Reddit are taking COVID seriously and are very pro-vaccine while nurses on Facebook either downplay it or just outright deny it and are anti-vaccine. Then again Americans are so polarized on any topic that there doesn’t ever seem to ever be a middle ground.

Chris

Is it too late to change my career? Thinking of being a scuba diving instructor…

Donna

Long-term care chiming in….. Soooooo many staff members testing positive, but our elder population actually seems to be protected by the vaccine which is such a relief because nobody wants to repeat the trauma of last year.

Stephanie

Tired of it. We are running out of resources and hospital staff that need to care for sick people that don’t have Covid.

Susan

Thanks to everyone who shared their opinions online. These responses have been edited for length and clarity. 

Steven Briggs
Steven Briggs is a healthcare writer for Scrubs Magazine, hailing from Brooklyn, NY. With both of his parents working in the healthcare industry, Steven writes about the various issues and concerns facing the industry today.

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