Marizka Coetzer
3 minute read
27 Nov 2020
5:45 am

The fears of front-line workers battling Covid-19

Marizka Coetzer

'When you work so closely with the virus, it’s hard not to let your imagination run away with you. Suddenly, every sneeze that is due to seasonal allergies makes you wonder, 'Is that you, Covid?''

Picture for illustration. Assistant nurses Agnes Lencwe and Kgomotso Mlanyede stand for a portrait outside the Covid-19 ward in the Taung Hospital in Taung, North West, on 4 September 2020. Picture: Thomson Reuters Foundation/Gulshan Khan

Numerous Covid-19 scares, from scenarios of infected colleagues to learning how to work in a “spacesuit”, are just some of the burdens the front-line workers carry during the national pandemic. Anastacia Tomson, a medical doctor, author and human rights activist from Cape Town, said the outbreak stirred intense panic and fear among patients. “This often manifested with an increase in after-hours phone calls. Patients were simultaneously afraid to come into the rooms, but also wanted the reassurance of a doctor.” Tomson said the pandemic also meant they had to learn new techniques. “Like how to correctly perform a Covid swab,...