South Dakota ER nurse recalls how dying coronavirus patients spend last minutes insisting virus isn't real

Kathryn Krawczyk
·2 min read

South Dakota ER nurse Jodi Doering has seen some disturbing examples of COVID-19 denial as she works through the pandemic.

After a Twitter thread of her experiences started circulating, Doering appeared on CNN's New Day on Monday to describe how South Dakota hospitals are overwhelmed with coronavirus patients — and yet some of them don't believe the virus they have is real. While many patients are "grateful for the care they receive" from nurses, some COVID-19 patients spend their last moments refusing to call family and friends because they're convinced they're going to be fine, Doering said. "Their last dying words are, 'This can't be happening. It's not real,'" Doering recalled. In some cases, patients even insist they have the flu or lung cancer to avoid acknowledging the coronavirus.

Doering went on to mention how more people have died of COVID-19 in South Dakota — 644 — than live in the town where she's from. South Dakota has the highest COVID-19 mortality rate of almost anywhere in the world — only North Dakota and the entire countries of Belgium and the Czech Republic rank higher. Without a mask mandate and with low rates of mask wearing, the Dakotas have seen coronavirus cases spike over the past few months.

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