US President-elect Joe Biden wiped away tears as he heard emotional testimonies from healthcare workers during a virtual town hall on Wednesday.
Mary Turner, a Minnesota nurse, told Biden how she held the hands of dying patients who ached for family and loved ones, as their lives ebbed away on ventilators.
Shortage of personal protective equipment was a constant theme across frontline workers’ stories.
“Sometimes the masks literally fall off our faces,” Turner said, explaining how nurses in the hospital where she worked reused N-95s till the point that they tore or fell apart.
Turner said, to Biden’s surprise, that she is yet to be tested for Covid-19. “You’re kidding me!” Biden exclaimed.
Turner, dressed in red scrubs, apologized for breaking down. “No, you got me emotional,” Biden responded.
America, the world’s wealthiest country, has gone through the worst phases of the pandemic with frontline workers wearing garbage bags over their scrubs. The situation lurched to the other extreme in the run up to the election where doctors in swing states were handed giant boxes full of N-95 masks.
Trump has repeatedly claimed that America is the “king of ventilators” while making fun of mask mandates, calling his task force members “idiots” and pushing quack cures.