Emergency medical services across the country, already burdened by the high demands of COVID-19, have faced added pressure in the past week as they responded to protests ignited by the death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police.
The need to protect themselves against the coronavirus adds another complication to emergency crews’ efforts in these dangerous conditions. Their personal protective equipment (PPE) can be difficult to wear in a crowd, said emergency medical services officials. Plus, switching from that gear to equipment needed to shield medics from bullets, rocks or tear gas can be challenging.
Brent Stevenson, assistant chief of the Denver Health Paramedic Division, said facing a protest and a pandemic at once is uncharted territory.
“I don’t think there was a rule book for me really to figure out what we’re gonna do,” he said.
In addition, many crews must overcome the fatigue caused by