Nurses fear what’s to come: ‘Walk down our unit for a day’

The nurses of California are afraid.

It’s Christmas Eve, and they aren’t home with their families. They are working, always working, completely gowned up — and worn down.

They’re frightened by what people are doing, or not doing, during a coronavirus pandemic that has already killed more than 320,000 nationwide and shows no signs of slowing down.

They’re even more terrified of what’s next.

“Every day, I look into the eyes of someone who is struggling to breathe,” said nurse Jenny Carrillo, her voice breaking.

A charge nurse at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley, Carrillo is haunted by the daily counts of COVID-19 patients. Dark shadows circle her eyes.

By Tuesday evening, the hospital had 147 coronavirus patients — a record for Holy Cross but a tiny fraction of the nearly 2 million cases recorded in California since the pandemic began.

Close to 18,000 people were hospitalized in the state Tuesday, and models project the number could top 100,000 in a month — unimaginable for medical systems that are already running out of room. More than 23,000 people with COVID-19 have died in California, and the number is only

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