Doctors, nurses, and other medical staff are flocking to the front lines as the world struggles to contain the coronavirus outbreak, which has now infected more than 341,000 people and spread to at least 167 countries and territories.

As hospitals fill up and more and more people get infected on a daily basis, medical staff have to endure long hours, intensifying conditions, and the looming fear of contracting the virus themselves.

From watching patients die alone to delivering a baby infected with coronavirus, nurses and doctors alike have seen the worst of this disease.

Scroll down to see what life is like on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak.


Doctors and nurses have worked around the clock to save the lives of those who have fallen ill with the coronavirus, like these medics huddling together to operate on a critical patient in Wuhan.

Foto: Doctors conduct surgery on a COVID-19 patient in critical condition in Wuhan on March 21, 2020. Source: Xinhua/Ke Hao/Getty Images

This video of medics inside a makeshift intensive care unit in Bergamo, Italy’s worst-hit city, looks almost apocalyptic. (Warning: This video contains footage of acute coronavirus cases that may be distressing to watch.)

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Foto: Source: Sky News

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Across Italy, doctors and nurses have also described long working hours, few supplies, and grueling conditions that has left them emotionally and physically exhausted.

Foto: Nurses embrace at the Cremona hospital in Lombardy on March 15, 2020. Source: Paolo Miranda/ AFP/Getty

“I am physically tired because the protective devices are bad, the lab coat makes me sweat, and once dressed, I can no longer go to the bathroom or drink for six hours,” Alessia Bonari, an Italian nurse in Milan, wrote on Instagram earlier this month.

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Pictures of medical staff looking chafed and bruised from wearing face masks and goggles all day have also gone viral.

Foto: Nurse Cao Shan shows marks of a mask on her face after working in the isolation ward in Jinyintan Hospital in Wuhan on February 17, 2020. Source: Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Doctors and nurses from countries like China and Italy – which have seen the highest infections and deaths from the virus – have been sharing selfies of their bruised faces on social media, Britain’s Metro newspaper reported.

Bonari, the Italian nurse, also shared a photo of her face bruised from heavy protective gear.

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Medics have been battling the disease on various fronts, from picking up patients from their homes in heavy protective gear…

Foto: Health workers transport a coronavirus patient — inside the red container — at a hospital in Timisoara, western Romania, on March 6, 2020. Source: Inquam Photos/Virgil Simonescu/ Reuters

… to providing countless coronavirus tests to record how many people have been infected with the disease.

Foto: A medical worker performs a coronavirus test on a woman suspected to be infected at the hospital in Vannes, France, on March 20, 2020. Source: Stephane Mahe/Reuters

Some hospitals are even having so much trouble keeping up with new coronavirus patients that they’ve set up makeshift centers to accommodate more people. Here’s a hockey arena turned temporary coronavirus assessment center in Ottawa, Canada.

Foto: Medical staff prepares to receive patients for coronavirus screening at a temporary assessment center at the Brewer hockey arena in Ottawa, Canada, on March 13, 2020. Source: Patrick Doyle/Reuters

Source: Ottawa Citizens


This photo shows a conference and exhibition center in Wuhan turned into a makeshift hospital, with a medical worker attending to patients in full protective gear.

Foto: A makeshift hospital ward at the Wuhan International Conference and Exhibition Center on February 5, 2020. Source: Reuters

The coronavirus outbreak has also brought some about extraordinary moments. This nurse in Wuhan can be seen tending to a baby who tested positive for the coronavirus 30 hours after birth.

Foto: A nurse with a baby with the coronavirus at an isolation ward of Wuhan Children’s Hospital on March 16, 2020. Source: China Daily via Reuters

It is still unclear whether the baby, whose mother tested positive for coronavirus, contracted the disease in the womb or after birth, according to the BBC.

Source: BBC


Meanwhile, medics in countries including the UK, Iran, Italy, and Australia have reported not having enough medical equipment to fight the virus.

Foto: Medical workers transfer a coronavirus patient from the intensive care unit of the Gemelli Hospital to the Columbus Covid Hospital in Rome on March 16. Source: Gemelli Policlinico/Reuters

Dr. Rinesh Parmar, chair of the Doctors’ Association, told the BBC’s “The Andrew Marr Show”: “We have had doctors tell us they feel like lambs to the slaughter, that they feel like cannon fodder. GPs [general practitioners] tell us that they feel absolutely abandoned,” according to The Guardian.


As hospitals get increasingly overwhelmed, medical staff around the world have posted pictures of themselves holding up signs to tell people to stay home.

Foto: A doctor comforts a woman in isolation before a Cesarean section at the Wuhan Union Hospital on March 7, 2020. Critical hospital treatment has continued during the crisis. Source: Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

These signs are from medics with the National Health Service (NHS) in Britain, which is struggling to contain the outbreak:

Medics are sharing these messages amid reports that some people are ignoring official advice and still refusing to self-isolate.


Doctors and nurses have risked their lives fighting this pandemic.

Foto: A medical worker monitors a coronavirus patient inside an ambulance in Rome on March 16, 2020. Source: Gemelli Policlinico/Reuters

In the Oglio Po hospital in Cremona, Italy, a fifth of the hospital’s personnel has tested positive for coronavirus, Reuters reported.

Foto: A medical worker treats patients suffering from coronavirus in an intensive care unit at the Oglio Po hospital in Cremona on March 19, 2020. Source: Reuters/Flavio Lo Scalzo

“We are at the end of our strength,” said Romano Paolucci, a doctor who came out of retirement to help at the hospital near Cremona, according to Reuters.

“We do not have sufficient resources and especially staff because apart from everything else, now the staff are beginning to get sick.”


Meanwhile, they are also looking out for each other, keeping their spirits and morale high during these stressful times.

Foto: A staff of local NGO Shining Hope for Communities measures a woman’s body temperature in Nairobi, Kenya, on March 18, 2020. Source: Yasuyoshi Chiba / AFP/ Getty

Britain’s Metro newspaper cited multiple health workers as saying they are covering each other’s shifts and lifting team morale as much as they can.


The help has even gone international. This week, a brigade of 52 Cuban doctors arrived in Italy to help the country battle the coronavirus.

Foto: An emergency contingent of doctors and nurses from Cuba arrive at Italy’s Malpensa airport near Milan to help with the coronavirus fight on March 22, 2020. Source: Daniele Mascolo/Reuters

“We are all afraid but we have a revolutionary duty to fulfill, so we take out fear and put it to one side,” said Leonardo Fernandez, a 68-year-old intensive-care specialist, according to The New York Times.


What’s clear is that these doctors and nurses aren’t willing to give up, despite the difficulties. Alessia Bonari, the nurse in Milan, wrote that despite her difficulties at the hospital, she is still “proud and in love” with her job.

Foto: Medical personnel wave to a patient discharged from the Leishenshan Hospital in Wuhan on March 1, 2020. Source: China Daily/Reuters

Source: Alessia Bonari/Instagram, Business Insider