Coronavirus update: USA handling COVID-19 like Soviet’s handled Chernobyl claims doctor

Chernobyl’s nuclear reactor exploded in Ukraine on April 26, 1986, killed 31 people and resulted in the mass evacuation and abandonment of a huge area. In total 50,000 people were evacuated. When cleaning up the disaster, Soviet employees were given makeshift uniforms made out of sheets of metal to protect themselves against the radiation.

Those uniforms did not work.

Today, the US is facing a shortage of medical facemasks, known as N95 masks, prompting many doctors to fashion their own.

Experts warn these will not work either.

Now one expert has claimed the US is bungling its approach to coronavirus in the same way the Soviet Union did for the Chernobyl disaster.

In an opinion piece for Scientific American, emergency physician Joshua Lerner said: “In one of the most vivid scenes in the HBO miniseries Chernobyl, soldiers dressed in leather smocks ran out into radioactive areas to literally shovel radioactive material out of harm’s way.


“Horrifically underprotected, they suited up anyway to do their job. In later scenes, soldiers fashioned protection from scrap metal out of desperation while patrolling other hazardous areas.

“Please don’t tell me that in the richest country in the world in the 21st century, I’m supposed to work in a fictionalized Soviet-era disaster zone and fashion my own face mask out of cloth while others in our country hoard supplies for personal use and profiteering as so-called leaders sit around in meetings hearing themselves talk.

“I don’t want talk. I don’t want assurances. I want action.

“I want boxes of N95 masks piling up in hospitals, donated from the people who hoarded them or from stockpiles of less critical use.”

“Our country won two world wars because the entire country mobilized. We outproduced and out-manufactured everyone else while our soldiers outfought the enemy.

“Today, we need that level of commitment again. Make no mistake: we are at war. Health care workers are your soldiers, and the battle has just begun.”

The US is likely to be confirmed as the epicentre of the disease by the World Health Organization where cases continue to skyrocket.

More than 85,000 people have now confirmed to be infected in the States, 4,000 more than China despite the virus reaching American shores more than a month later.

The US has also seen a surge of cases, with the death toll exceeding 1,300 from March 27.

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