COVID-19 and the frontline healthcare workers

Kayla Pablo

29-year-old Benjamin Mark Nabong’s life has drastically been affected by the current outbreak of COVID-19. Being a physical therapist assistant, he has had no choice but to change his daily work tasks in order to adjust to the unforeseen pandemic. 


Since the start of quarantine, Nabong’s company’s policies have changed to ensure the safety of the workers and the patients. Now, the employees of the company are required to wear PPEs, or personal protective equipment, whenever they are in the facility. This medical gear includes masks, face shields, goggles, shoe covers, gloves, and gowns. With the sudden change in work attire, Nabong feels unsafe whenever having to come in to work. He states, “I work in very hazardous conditions. I interact with patients that are in the geriatric population, so they are at the target age of being susceptible hosts to COVID-19. Some are even positive with the virus.” 


In addition, the infectious virus has taken a great effect on Nabong’s social life, as well.  He believes one of the hardest things to adjust to was not being able to see his family. Nabong reveals, “Usually after work I am able to visit my parents and grandparents, but because COVID-19 can be spread through any form of contact it makes it hard for me to see them. I’m scared that I might contaminate them.” However, Nabong does still try to practice social distancing, saying that because of his job, he does not want to risk even being remotely close to other people, so FaceTime or video chatting is the way to go. 


Fortunately, as he is currently studying to make his way into graduate school, Nabong finds some positives in the sudden quarantine. The extra time that was given to him through this event has allowed Nabong to work on personal goals such as studying and catching up on material required for graduate school. When asked why he wants to attend a university again, he replies, “It’s always been something I’ve been dreaming about – going to medical school. Now, is the perfect opportunity to do so. With the coronavirus impacting so many people throughout the world, what better way to help them than becoming a doctor.” 


For those of you who are staying at home during quarantine, Nabong asks you to try to consistently stay active. He advises, “Because we’ve had sedentary lifestyles prior to the outbreak, people are more prone to sit around and watch TV, so many forget to go outside and exercise.” Working out helps greatly with circulation and making sure your heart is still working efficiently. Since COVID-19 is a respiratory illness, exercise can help fight it off. Lastly, Nabong has one more piece of advice to share: In order to ensure your safety when going out, wear a mask, make sure the people around you have a mask, and try not to touch each other. 


Thank you Benjamin Mark Nabong for putting your life at risk to provide healthcare for the people.