ICU Nurse Slams 'Ignorance' Of Anti-Mask Movement In Viral Twitter Thread

An intensive care unit nurse has taken aim at the anti-mask movement and opposition to vaccinations as part of an impassioned Twitter thread lifting the lid on life on the frontline of America's fight against COVID-19.

ICU registered nurse Kathryn Ivey took to social media to offer up a snapshot of the situation she and countless other medical professionals have been facing.

In the tweets, which have been shared or quoted over 10,000 times and liked over 53,000 times, she describes sitting alongside a COVID patient as he passed away.

"He wasn't alone. The respiratory therapist and I stayed with him until the end, squeezing his hands, telling him it was okay to go," Ivey wrote.

"We told him he fought well, had been so brave for so long, and he could rest. We wiped his brow and watched as he slipped away."

This harrowing scene is a familiar one to Ivey who, later in the thread, reels off a list of others who have succumbed to the deadly virus.

She writes that one had a "a two-year-old son" while another victim was "just married" and a third was "finally out of an abusive, decades-long relationship."

Even more distressing still, she reveals she has treated patients who were pregnant when they passed as a result of the coronavirus.

"They all leave behind people who will never be okay again," she writes, adding later "they deserve better."

A powerful and distressing account of what is unfolding, Ivey is unequivocal in her assessment of the situation, writing "This should not have happened.These deaths didn't have to happen."

"I keep saying this like I will find meaning in it but the truth is as simple as it is hard to swallow: they died because we failed them," she says.

"We placed our petty conveniences on a pedestal, clung tight to ignorance - And made our neighbors a sacrifice."

The thread can be viewed in full here:

"This is not the update wanted to give you. Your husband died about fifteen minutes ago. I'm so sorry."

The rest of it is harder to say. He wasn't alone. The respiratory therapist and I stayed with him until the end, squeezing his hands, telling him it was okay to go.

— Kathryn Ivey (@kathryniveyy) September 5, 2021

Some longer than others. Mostly just a few seconds, counted by the sudden tingle deep in my spine, a shifting awareness that there is more in the world than I can see. A few seconds where the veil opens and the naked truth of the world is almost revealed before it closes again.

— Kathryn Ivey (@kathryniveyy) September 5, 2021

I'm glad we could spare him this last torment, that amidst the wreckage covid leaves in its wake there are still moments of mercy and peace, bitter and hard won though they may be. And under it all a deep sense of something misplaced, like part of the world tilted away.

— Kathryn Ivey (@kathryniveyy) September 5, 2021

And made our neighbors a sacrifice. Each life a brilliant light, lush and shining and gone forever; each leaving something dark and cold in the world where they used to be. Each leaving others to carry the love that now has nowhere to go.

He had young daughters.

— Kathryn Ivey (@kathryniveyy) September 5, 2021

So much love with nowhere to go. Sometimes I think it will crack the world in two.

They deserve better.

— Kathryn Ivey (@kathryniveyy) September 5, 2021

Ivey, who works at an unspecified hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, told Newsweek the thread was inspired by the "multiple patient deaths" she has witnessed over the past few weeks, adding that many "were not as peaceful."

"It's been pretty bleak lately," she says. "We are constantly full with basically a waiting list of people who need ICU beds. Lots of patients on ventilators."

Ivey says they have "come close to running out of vents, Bipap, and Vapotherms" and there has been "at least one death a shift."

Thankfully she says her facility has been "decently staffed," which has made a "huge difference."

Ivey also reiterated her frustrations at those who "refuse to acknowledge that their actions impact others."

"There were so many people who were mad they couldn't go to bars or clubs or the hair salon and that they were being asked to wear a mask while people were dying," she says.

"I know lockdowns aren't fun and they involve a lot of sacrifice and I'm not trying to minimize that. But there were and are so many people who refuse to acknowledge that their actions impact others."

Her comments come as multiple states across the U.S. have reported rising COVID-19 case numbers and deaths.

Florida reported record numbers of daily COVID-19 deaths in August where Governor Ron DeSantis continues to seek a ban on mask mandates in schools.

In Georgia, meanwhile, just over 95 percent of Georgia's intensive care unit (ICU) beds are at full capacity as COVID-19 infections and death rates continue to soar.

According to Dr. Kathleen E. Toomey, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health, 97 percent of recent COVID-19 deaths in the state have been among unvaccinated individuals.

This isn't the first time Ivey has gone viral during the pandemic.

Back in November, she posted a picture comparing a picture of her graduating as a nurse back in March 2020, with one of her after a 12-hour shift on a COVID ward taken in November of the same year.

How it started How it's going pic.twitter.com/cg32Tu7v0B

— Kathryn Ivey (@kathryniveyy) November 22, 2020
A nurse wearing PPE with a patient.
Stock image of a nurse or doctor in PPE - an ICU nurse's impassioned essay on dealing with COVID patients has gone viral. lakshmiprasad/Getty