Compassion fatigue is real for health-care workers on the front line of coronavirus fight

When the novel coronavirus began wreaking havoc last year, nurse practitioner Erica Joseph would trudge home from an arduous workday feeling exhausted and mentally spent. Joseph would then have to ward off a hug from her 8-year-old daughter for fear of transmitting the deadly virus.

After a day of confronting the effects of the coronavirus, a hug from her daughter was just what Joseph needed. But only after changing out of her scrubs and employing other decontamination measures could she embrace the child, and even then, she felt worried.  

“I was scared of the unknown,” said Joseph, whose household includes her husband and two children. “Am I bringing this home to my family?”

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