Dr. Giuliana Battagin, an infectious disease doctor in a small city near Venice in Italy, tested positive for COVID-19 as she was watching case numbers skyrocket in her small hospital. After testing positive, she had to isolate with her partner and 6-year-old son. For 40 days, she and her partner, a photojournalist, captured what it is like to be a health care worker quarantining at home during a global health crisis.
Globally, the fight against the coronavirus pandemic has depleted resources, resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths and put continued strain on health care workers who are on the frontlines of the crisis. Doctors and nurses are fighting for the lives of their patients, helping some make it back to their families and witnessing others succumb to their symptoms, which all takes a serious mental and physical toll.
I had stuck in my head the images of what I had seen in the hospital.
Global Health Reporting Center’s video series “A Diary From the Frontline” spotlights the efforts of four health care workers from the U.S., the UK and Italy. Philadelphia nurse Sheena Williams finds herself at a crossroads when national protests over systemic racism and police brutality came amid calls for Americans to stay home. San Diego’s Dr. Davey Smith is balancing clinical trials of a potential COVID-19 treatment and hospital rounds. British nurse Alison Harris has seen her role shift to caring and intubating critically ill patients. And Dr. Giuliana Battagin from Italy, who tested positive for COVID-19 early on, has had to put aside her work as an infectious disease doctor to stay home and quarantine– where she spent her time documenting her family’s journey.
This series was produced through a partnership with Emma Watts of Green Bean Pictures and was published by PBS Newshour.