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‘That’s fine come to work we will give you patients who are also positive’: Nurse alleges he has to work despite COVID in viral TikTok

'They did that math.'


Rachel Kiley

Internet Culture

Posted on Dec 31, 2021   Updated on Jan 3, 2022, 10:51 am CST

A nurse’s series of TikToks alleging that his hospital is requiring him to come into work despite testing positive for COVID has others saying they’re dealing with the same thing.

@nurse.johnn has been sharing his experience via a series of humorous skits in which he pretends to talk to his supervisors while dealing with COVID. He first posted an acknowledgement of testing positive two days ago, but made it very clear in the comments that while his videos may seek out the humor in the situation, this has been a frustrating experience.

“To everyone going back to work tomorrow or the next 2 days, see you guys in the iCU or whatever or if you don’t make it that far see u in heaven,” he wrote. “Make sure y’all bring your water, box of tissue, and probably your last will and testament cause we dyin out here.”

One TikTok in particular claims that when John told his manager he tested positive for COVID, “she replied, ‘that’s fine come to work we will give you patients who’s also positive.’” It boasts 2.3 million views as of Friday.

“For all the people that are still shocked, YES we are obliged to work even with a + result as long as we are asymptomatic or ‘whatever our boss needs,’” he wrote on a follow-up video comparing preparing for his shift with four other COVID-positive colleagues to the Hunger Games. “They did that math and for them sacrificing some nurses is mathing the math problem of this pandemic.”

We’ve heard many claims throughout the pandemic of businesses asking workers to come in after being exposed to or infected with COVID, refusing to close when multiple staff members tested positive, or doing other things that prioritize capitalism over the health and safety of employees. But of all places, one would expect hospitals to know better.

However, the recent change in CDC guidelines, including shortening isolation time for people infected with the virus from 10 days to five days, have made things more confusing than ever—especially with accusations that the guidelines only changed to benefit the economy.

Regardless of the reasoning, the impact is already being seen, as healthcare workers and others shared their own stories with John of being asked to come in to work despite recently testing positive.

“Literally just tested positive yesterday and got told today they’ll see me Friday,” said @mandasue25. “What a time to work in healthcare.”

“I’m a care assistant felt really ill told my manager I have Covid symptoms he asked if I can just ‘power through’ the day,” @_c.xx4 chimed in.

Another viewer said her job “said you can’t catch something you already have,” a sentiment seemingly echoed by @des.rene’s employers, who she says are sending her into the “red zone only” after she’s tested positive for 12 days.

And even beyond the part where people may be extending the pandemic by working while infected, that employers expect workers to keep pushing through and doing their jobs while they’re sick—while certainly not new or novel in the U.S.—is still infuriating.

“If we don’t take care of our medical front line workers, who’s going to [take] care of the sick?” asked @jen_rivera79.

“They basically want us to intubate ourselves if we ever get hospitalized,” John replied.

The Daily Dot has reached out to John via TikTok comment but was unable to independently verify his employment claims.

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*First Published: Dec 31, 2021, 12:59 pm CST