Podcast: Battling COVID-19 warning fatigue

IowaWatch · COVID Messaging Fatigue in Iowa

A year ago, as Iowa hit the first anniversary of dealing with COVID-19, healthcare workers had a plea: use self-protection, like masks and social distancing, to keep the highly contagious coronavirus from spreading. Hospital beds were full and the ability to respond to the pandemic was hampered by overwork and healthcare workers, themselves, getting sick. “Certain days are harder than others. You know, it kind of depends on what’s going on,” Lilly Olson, a University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics floor nurse, said talking with IowaWatch in January 2021 as Iowans moved into year two of the COVID-19 pandemic. She was one of several healthcare workers with whom IowaWatch spoke last winter during a report called Voices of COVID.

Non-English speakers get support understanding details of COVID vaccine

The Midwest is home to tens of thousands of immigrants — including refugees from countries like Myanmar, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Iraq. It has been a challenge to provide information about COVID-19 and vaccines to those who don’t speak English. 

The Johnson County Public Health Department in eastern Iowa has COVID-19 information available in about a half dozen languages. But Samuel Jarvis, who works for the department, said getting this translated information out during the pandemic can be really hard. “Because the information changes quickly. And really, it’s just — it has to be at a faster pace,” said Jarvis.

Dying while denying: one of the heart wrenching stories from treating COVID patients

Kirstin Brainard’s daily rounds as a floor nurse at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics’ medical intensive care unit are a mix of reviewing how patients have done the past 24 hours, helping treat those patients and taking new admissions. Brainard is part of an 8-person team, which has to be ready to deal with any emergency on the hospital floor.

Front-line workers on COVID’s severity: ‘We’ve never seen anything like this’

Despite all of the reporting, public announcements and warnings from health care professionals, community leaders and elected officials, health care workers IowaWatch spoke with as 2020 drew to a close said many people still don’t understand the severity of suffering that the people hit hardest with COVID-19 have to endure. Unless, that it, they have seen it up close, themselves, with someone they know.