Health-care workers are quitting in Sweden as second wave of coronavirus infections hits hard

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‘I talked to members in August who said they would resign because it was the only way to get some time off and recover. We see high rates of sickness, symptoms of exhaustion and members who have been infected.’

That’s Sineva Ribeiro, the chairwoman of the Swedish Association of Health Professionals, talking to Bloomberg about the “terrible” situation in Sweden as coronavirus infections continue to spread.

She explained that there was “a shortage of specialist nurses, including at ICUs,” even before the pandemic hit back in March. With Stockholm’s intensive care capacity reaching 99% last week, the capital city is calling for outside help to handle the increasing number of patients.

As you can see from this chart, the trend is troubling:

Bloomberg highlighted a survey by broadcaster TV4 showing 13 of Sweden’s 21 regions saw a jump in resignations in the health-care profession from a year ago, at as many as 500 a month.

Also read: Bill Gates gives some ‘bad news’ on the pandemic

“In a work environment where you are so tired, the risk of mistakes increases,” Ribeiro said in the interview. “And those mistakes can lead to patients dying.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. still holds the highest case total in the world at 16.26 million, with almost 300,000 deaths, which is roughly a fifth of the global totals, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University. There were a record 109,331 COVID-19 patients in U.S. hospitals on Sunday, topping the record of 108,487 set a day earlier.

The grim totals come as the first COVID-19 vaccine shipments began over the weekend.

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