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South Dakota nurse says many patients deny the coronavirus exists — right up until death – The Washington Post

Doering said she has covid-19 patients who need 100 percent-oxygen breathing assistance who will also swear that they don’t have the illness that has ended the lives of nearly a quarter-million people in the United States since February.

“I think the hardest thing to watch is that people are still looking for something else and a magic answer and they do not want to believe covid is real,” Doering told CNN in an interview Monday.

“Their last dying words are, ‘This can’t be happening. It’s not real,” Doering said, adding that some patients prefer to believe that they have pneumonia or other diseases rather than covid-19, despite seeing their positive test results.

Doering’s weekend tweets went viral and prompted reaction from residents, health-care workers and local officials.

“COVID is amplifying the feeling of frustration and helplessness our front-line healthcare workers are experiencing,” Brookings, S.D., City Council member Nick Wendell wrote on Twitter. “We are in the midst of the storm right now. When we see our way through to the other side, the accumulated grief of healthcare workers in our state will be among the debris.”

The United States surpassed 11 million coronavirus cases Sunday, and health experts warn of even bleaker weeks ahead, urging the public to take the pandemic seriously and abide by strict social-distancing rules. They have also urged public officials to implement more restrictions, such as statewide mask mandates, to stem the spread.

Coronavirus cases are increasing rapidly across the country, but North and South Dakota led the nation in new cases and deaths per capita last week, according to Washington Post data.

In North Dakota, where cases have rocketed in the past month, Republican Gov. Doug Burgum has also acknowledged the phenomenon of disbelief among the population. Burgum pleaded with fellow residents late last week to take precautions as the state’s hospitals are overwhelmed with patients.

“You don’t have to believe in covid, you don’t have to believe in a certain political party or not, you don’t have to believe whether masks work or not. You can just do it because you know that one thing is very real. And that’s that 100 percent of our capacity is now being used,” Burgum said.

Last week, South Dakota reported an 18.2 percent increase in daily deaths and a 26.5 percent uptick in hospitalizations, according to data tracked by The Post. The South Dakota Department of Health reported 2,020 new coronavirus infections Thursday, a record for positive results in a 24-hour period.

“It is hard and sad because every hospital, every nurse, every doctor in the state is seeing the same things,” Doering told CNN. “These people are getting sick the same way, you treat them in the same way, they die in the same way, and then you do it all over again.”

Griffe Witte and Tony Romm contributed to this report.

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