With the coronavirus spreading uncontrolled throughout much of the U.S., doctors and nurses across the country are taking to social media with desperate pleas: stay home, and stop the spread.

The CDC is asking everyone to avoid travel and large gatherings because in too many places across the country, hospitals are already in crisis mode.

Medical professionals (many of whom are working parents who have been working so hard and sacrificing time with their families for the past 8 months) fear it could get so much worse—and they're barely hanging on.

One nurse laid bare the combination of stress, fear, anxiety, and guilt moms and dads who are working in hospitals are feeling right now. Kathryn (who is only sharing her first name to protect her privacy) shared a 'how it started/how it's going' meme that reminds us how hard this year has been on medical staff.



Kathryn is far from the only nurse taking to Twitter to share thoughts on the pandemic and resulting stress for medical workers.

Nurse Lori Jackson writes: "I'm at a breaking point & I can't take this anymore. I just want to quit my job. It's just covid after covid & when I'm not at work I stay home b/c I'm always freaking exposed. I'm so tired of it. We have no life. My kids have no life b/c their parents work in a hospital." It's taken for granted that nurses like her will always be there to tend to us when we need it—but what happens when that breaking point finally arrives?"

Ashley Bartholomew, a registered nurse who had been working in El Paso, Texas went viral last week after revealing that the Covid-19 situation had become so dire she resigned her job. She said there wasn't one specific incident that caused her to quit, but shared the story of one patient who insisted the pandemic was "fake news"—despite being hospitalized with it himself, in a facility packed with people dying from it.

"He says, 'I don't think covid is really more than a flu.' I clarified, 'Now you think differently though?'" Bartholomew wrote. "He replies, "'No the same. I should just take vitamins for my immune system. They (news) are making it a big deal.'"

It's hard to imagine how disheartening it must be to be putting yourself at risk every day, working yourself into exhaustion, and missing out on time with your own family—for people who insist that this is all just no big deal. Some people have even gone as far as to dismiss the sacrifices that medical workers are making right now, saying that they signed up for it when they took the job—and that like Bartholomew, they could just quit if they don't like it.

Nurse @cieraaab1 shared why that's not an option for some. "My brother is a nurse in the military. He actually *can't* quit and just got sent to ND to be a Covid nurse. He's leaving behind his pregnant wife and toddler son. I'm also a nurse and the way this country has treated us devastates me."

Nurses making that kind of sacrifice—separating from their own families to protect ours—deserve so much more than a daily round of clapping. They deserve to know how much we appreciate their hard work. We can do that by wearing masks, staying home instead of traveling, and recognizing that skipping one holiday meal could make the difference between whether all of our loved ones are still around to celebrate next year.