U.S. medical supply chains failed, and COVID-19 deaths followed

Nurse Sandra Oldfield’s patient didn’t have the usual symptoms of COVID-19 — yet. But then he tested positive for the virus, and it was clear that Oldfield — a veteran, 53-year-old caregiver — had been exposed.

She was sent home by Kaiser Permanente officials with instructions to keep careful notes on her condition. And she did.

“Temperature 97.1,” she wrote on March 26, her first log entry. Normal.

She and her colleagues said they had felt unsafe at work and had raised concerns with their managers. They needed N95 masks, powerful protection against contracting COVID-19. Kaiser Permanente had none for Sandra Oldfield. Instead, she was issued a less effective surgical mask, leaving her vulnerable to the deadly virus.

Image via AP.

Many others were similarly vulnerable, and not just at this 169-bed hospital in Fresno. From the very moment the pandemic reached America’s shores, the country was unprepared. Hospitals, nursing homes and other health care facilities didn’t have the masks and equipment needed to protect their workers. Some got sick and spread the virus. Some died.

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The Associated Press and “FRONTLINE” launched a

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