Nashville nurse on latest COVID-19 surge: 'It is so much worse this time'

A Nashville nurse wrote an op-ed in the Scientific American detailing her experience as a nurse during the pandemic, saying the current wave of delta cases is much worse than what she experienced last year. 

It is so much worse this time. We all have so much less to give. We are still bearing the fresh and heavy grief of the past year and trying to find somewhere to put all this anger. But the patients don’t stop coming,” Kathryn Ivey, a critical care nurse at a medical center in Nashville, said.

The numbers are higher now than they’ve ever been, the patients coming in younger and sicker. Death is at my shoulder again, as silent as he is relentless,” she said. 


All around the country hospitals have been overrun with cases of the delta variant, which caused the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to tell even fully vaccinated individuals to wear masks indoors. 

Idaho has to ration care and prioritize healthy people who are more likely to recover due to lack of resources. 

Ivey describes how difficult the past year has been as a nurse, seeing death constantly in the intensive care unit and having to make late-night calls to families to tell them their loved one wasn’t going to make it. 

She said in the spring when cases went down she “realized how many people normally survive the ICU” and felt the “things I did mattered; my actions actually saved lives.”

Since the spring, cases have risen around the country, prompting states to implement mask mandates and companies to implement vaccine mandates. 

“I don’t know what to say that will make people listen to us, to take the basic steps such as masks and vaccination that could be our way out of this nightmare. I wish I could snap so many people out of their selfish stupor, but I can’t, so I get to watch instead as people learn the hard way,” Ivey said. 

Tennessee has had more than 1.1 million COVID-19 cases throughout the pandemic and more than 14,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.