Oct. 29, 2020 -- This U.S. is reporting more than 70,000 new coronavirus cases each day, and 41 states are reporting at least 10% more cases this week than the week before, according to CNN.

Four of the five highest days occurred during the past week, with the U.S. setting a record on Tuesday of more than 500,000 infections in a 7-day period.

Daily deaths are also climbing across the county, with one American dying every 107 seconds, according to USA Today.

“There’s no way to sugarcoat it: We are facing an urgent crisis, and there is an imminent risk to you, your family members, your friends, your neighbors and the people you care about,” Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said during a news conference.

Evers and health officials are urging residents to stay home and avoid gatherings of more than five people, only leaving home when absolutely necessary. Tuesday marked the worst day so far for the state.

The U.S. is “not in a good place,” Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Wednesday during a Q&A session with JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association.

The rising surge, paired with cold winter months and holiday gatherings, creates a “bad recipe for a tough time ahead,” he said.

Fauci supported a national mask mandate on Wednesday to reduce the spread of the coronavirus and ease the burden of the months ahead. But a national mandate is unlikely to come from the White House, he said.

COVID-19 and the Threat of Moral InjuryWebMD's Chief Medical Officer, John Whyte, MD, speaks with Rita Nakashima Brock, PhD, Senior Vice President and Director of the Shay Moral Injury Center, Volunteers of America, about COVID-19 and the threat of moral injury.471


JOHN WHYTE: Welcome, everyone.

You're watching "Coronavirus

in Context."

I'm Dr. John White,

chief medical officer at WebMD.

Today I want to talk

about this concept

of moral injury and the role

it's playing in the COVID


To help provide some insights,

I've asked Dr. Rita Nakashima

Brock, senior vice president

of Volunteers of America.

Dr. Brock, thanks for joining



a pleasure to be with you.

JOHN WHYTE: Let's start off

with help

explain to our viewers, what

exactly is moral injury?


So moral injury happens when we

violate core moral beliefs

in high-stakes situations

and harm happens.

And we may cause the harm,

fail to prevent it,

or witness it.

Um, and ev-- it can even be harm

that's been inflicted on us

by someone, um, in authority

or in power who should have

protected us or done the right

thing, and they didn't.


Now we've been talking

about COVID.


JOHN WHYTE: How does it affect

frontline workers?


the most competent, seasoned

professionals, in a crisis

like this pandemic,

are facing situations that are

really out of control.

So-- so-- so decisions are

having to be made in-- in very

quick ways when, often, you get

more time to think about them.

There are things going on

that, uh, in-- on a battlefield

would be called triage,

where you have to decide very

quickly who will get

a ventilator

and who won't, and how you're

going to try to save someone.

And those are the kinds

of conditions that can lead

to people, uh,

making mistakes or making

the wrong choice,

e-- even with the best


or just feeling completely


by, uh, the moral chaos

of the whole situation.

JOHN WHYTE: So what does it look


Help our viewers understand.



JOHN WHYTE: Maybe they've

experienced moral injury

and don't even know it.

Because it's not a term

we've often used.



And it's-- and it's important

to note that it's not a mental

health disorder.

It isn't that something's

wrong with you, it's actually

that your conscience is still


But it's become unmoored

from your normal ways

of operating

and your moral system.

And so you may feel very

discouraged and--

and like everything is futile.

There's nothing you can do.

You may feel extremely guilty.

You may feel ashamed we may feel

outraged that you didn't get

more PPE.

And so people in your center

got sick.

There are all kinds of things


stir up what we call

moral emotions.

And moral emotions are emotions

that aren't based in fear,

they're based

in moral judgments.

JOHN WHYTE: So how do we manage


What-- what do we do about it?


well, rest and a vacation

won't help.

They can make you better

able to cope

with those feelings,

but those feelings will continue

to haunt you until you begin

to process them.

And that means get-- finding

people to talk to.

JOHN WHYTE: And you have

an approach at Volunteers

of America

as to how to help address this.

Walk us through.


We-- we did a-- we did a program

with veterans with moral injury,

which is where the-- where

the original research was done,

was with veterans.

Um, and we've taken some

of the strategies

that-- out of that program

that worked.

Um, and we've applied them

to a one-hour, online,

peer-facilitated program

for people who need to unload

those feelings with other peers

and with peer facilitators.

There's not a mental health

expert in the group.

It's just peers who are trying

to facilitate the groups.

And it's a chance to, um,

talk to other people who aren't

going to judge you, uh, who are

going to understand what you're

feeling, uh,

and validate

the truth of those feelings.

And once you begin to express

them then you can begin to mull

them over, process, and think

about them.

JOHN WHYTE: So this could be

frontline responders, not just

health care workers,

but police officers, fire


But it could also be, you know,

bus drivers as well, right,

and people that, you know,

are at increased risk,

maybe, because of their jobs,

or even caregivers, correct?


right, that's right.

And our program's open pretty

much to anybody who thinks they

need it.

Um, and, uh, it-- it can-- you

know, you can, uh, start to feel

like you're not a very good

person because you actually

caught the COVID from your job

and then spread it

to your family.

JOHN WHYTE: So how do people

find out about, uh,

these different programs?

How do we raise awareness?


The program is called REST.

It stands for Resilience

Strength Time, REST.

And you just go to VOA.org/rest,

and there is a website with

information about it.

And you can sign up to register

to attend sessions.

Um, and we offer, right now,

sessions three days a week.

We're going to begin to expand


JOHN WHYTE: You have

to acknowledge our feelings,

right, and talk about it, even

in simple terms.

Is-- is that correct?



And it's easy if you are

a-- a high-competent


to set those feelings aside

and to sort of compartmentalize

that emotional pain so that you

can do your job

and focus directly on what's

in front of you,

and get the job done all day.

But often that kind of working

to avoid the feelings

can lead you to, um, getting too

exhausted, that you keep working

not to feel those things.

And so to stop and just

be with them, uh, and, uh,

and share them with someone


it's sort of like once you share

it, it's like popping a blister.

It's like, OK, now the healing

can begin.


But Dr. Brock, what about

if it's not you

that maybe sustained

the moral injury,

but it's a coworker, a friend, a

loved one.

How do you broach

that conversation with them?


ask, you know, how-- how are you


What's-- how's your day been?

Sort of specific questions

about experiences rather

than what--

I wouldn't say,

what's wrong with you?



like, the worst thing you could


JOHN WHYTE: Right, exactly.


You could just say,

I-- you know, I've noticed

you've been feeling a little


Is there something going on?

Uh, or just, how is it with you?

Those-- those are sort

of neutral questions.

But I have to say,

if you ask that question,

you have to be prepared.

You may hear things that are

upsetting, um, because of what

we're looking at right now

in the pandemic.

Th-- awful things are happening.

JOHN WHYTE: So it can't be

these rhetorical questions.

We really have to wait

for the answer.

Some people have said we should

say, how are you doing really?

And then pause to-- to truly

take time to listen.

Or-- or maybe what about even

saying, to folks,

tell me about your day.

Because that could be an opening

as well.



And-- and as long as I think--

and I think most of us

can sense this.

If the person is genuinely

interested in hearing, and isn't

looking for, um,

a way to ask a question

or-- or voice an opinion,

but is really empathetically

and compassionately listening,

um, that can be

a miraculous thing, that gift

of listening.

JOHN WHYTE: Well, Dr. Brock,

I want to thank you for helping

raise awareness of moral injury

and really offering solutions,

uh, to address it.


for having me.

JOHN WHYTE: And thank you all

for watching "Coronavirus

in Context."

I'm Dr. John Whyte.


John Whyte, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer, WebMD.<br>Rita Nakashima Brock, PhD, Senior Vice President and Director of the Shay Moral Injury Center, Volunteers of America./delivery/aws/8f/39/8f39ac3e-b0c4-3127-b472-e5a9472624b0/Brock_100220_,4500k,2500k,1000k,750k,400k,.mp410/22/2020 12:00:0018001200Brock_100220_1800x1200/webmd/consumer_assets/site_images/article_thumbnails/video/covid19-images/Brock_100220_1800x1200.jpg091e9c5e8202f44e

“We’re going to have many more hospitalizations, and that will inevitably lead to more deaths,” he told CNBC. “This is an untenable situation.”

COVID-19 hospitalizations are spiking in the Midwest as well, with 13 states reporting peaks on Wednesday, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

Indiana and Wisconsin reported their peak days during the past week, and Kansas reported the highest number of COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit on the same day the state’s death toll passed 1,000.

Illinois has increased restrictions in most regions, according to NBC 5 Chicago, which includes a closure of indoor dining and limits on gatherings to less than 25 people. The remaining regions could face new restrictions this weekend as cases and hospitalizations continue to increase.

Illinois is “getting close to the entire state implementing mitigation measures,” Ngozi Ezike, MD, the director of the state’s Department of Public Health, said Wednesday as new restrictions were announced.

“This is not just a warning but a call to action,” she said. “We continue to move backwards, losing all the ground we had gained over the summer.”

Coronavirus cases are surging across the world as well, with last week marking the highest tally of COVID-19 cases so far, according to the World Health Organization.

Several European countries have announced new restrictions. France, Italy, and Spain have limited nonessential business and enforced overnight curfews, and Russia announced a mask mandate.

“We’re well behind this virus,” Mike Ryan, MD, executive director of the WHO’s emergencies program, said at a news briefing.

“We will have to get ahead of this virus,” he said. “That may require sacrifice for many, many people in terms of their personal lives.”

WebMD Health News Brief


CNN: “More than 40 states are reporting an increase in Covid-19 cases and many in the Midwest are seeing record hospitalizations.”

JAMA Network: “Coronavirus Update With Anthony Fauci, October 28, 2020.”

Twitter: @COVID19Tracking, Oct. 28, 2020.

NBC 5 Chicago: “Illinois Coronavirus Updates: IHSA Defies Guidance to Allow Basketball, Restrictions in 8 Regions.”

USA Today: “'There's no way to sugarcoat it': COVID-19 cases are surging; one American dies every 107 seconds.”

CNBC: “Transcript: Dr. Anthony Fauci Speaks with CNBC’s Shepard Smith on ‘The News with Shepard Smith’ Tonight.”

World Health Organization: “WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 - 26 October 2020.”

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