Despite Pandemic, Trauma Centers See No End To ‘The Visible Virus Of Violence’

CHICAGO — On an early March day at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the emergency room at the University of Chicago Medical Center teemed with patients.

But many weren’t there because of the coronavirus. They were there because they’d been shot.

Gunshot victims account for most of the 2,600 adult trauma patients a year who come to this hospital on the city’s sprawling South Side. And the pandemic hasn’t dampened the flow.

“The visible virus of violence continues unabated,” said trauma chief Dr. Selwyn Rogers Jr.

The Chicago hospital’s experience mirrors what’s happening at other metropolitan trauma units around the nation, where the number of patients seeking care for injuries caused by what’s known as penetrating trauma — gunshot wounds or stabbings — appear to be holding steady, straining hospitals already busy fighting COVID-19.

The Hyde Park hospital’s Level 1 trauma center has been bustling since it launched

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Born Into A Pandemic: Virus Complicates Births For Moms And Babies

Mallory Pease’s contractions grew stronger as her husband, Mitchell, drove her to Oaklawn Hospital in Marshall, Michigan, to give birth to their second child. It had been a routine pregnancy, but she told her doctor she’d recently developed a sore throat, aches, coughing and shortness of breath — symptoms her provider knew could indicate COVID-19.

So, when she arrived at the hospital, she was taken to an isolation area, tested for the coronavirus and given oxygen. She took shallow, panting breaths as she delivered her daughter on March 23 in about five hours.

But she could hold little Alivia for only five minutes before the newborn was whisked off to a nursery. Pease, 27, was transferred to a COVID-19 floor, where she was told her test came back positive. By the next morning, she was so ill that her doctors discussed putting her on a ventilator.

As she struggled to

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Young People Weigh Pain Of Job Loss Against Risks Of Virus

Emilio Romero, 23, has mixed feelings about losing his job. It’s a major financial setback, but with two previous hospitalizations for pneumonia, a restaurant was not the safest place for the recent college graduate as the COVID-19 pandemic mushroomed.

“Working in a restaurant, there’s obviously exposure to a lot of people and dirty plates,” Romero said. “Even before I was officially laid off, I was getting pretty nervous about the way everything was playing out, for my own safety.”

Romero worked his last shift as a restaurant host in San Diego’s Little Italy on March 16, the same day San Diego County officials ordered all restaurants to switch to takeout and delivery only. Since then, COVID-19 cases in California have increased by more than 22 times, from 598 to 13,438 as of April 4. If

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