Even as the variety of new coronavirus instances appears to be tapering off in California, the state of affairs at our hospitals stays dire.

Operations are being canceled, ambulances have nowhere to unload their patients, and folks coming to emergency rooms for care typically wait hours, and even days, for a mattress.

State projections present that the variety of Covid-19 sufferers in California hospitals is most probably peaking this week. That’s excellent news, nevertheless it additionally means we’re nearly midway via the present hospital surge.

Given the bleak forecasts, we requested well being care staff in California to share a few of their on-the-ground experiences with us.

Today I’m publishing notes from nurses, docs and different well being professionals that present a window into their workdays, from staffing shortages to rampant exhaustion to the seemingly endless dangers to their very own well being and that of their households.

Tomorrow I’ll share their tales of why many hold at it regardless.

“With each new wave that hits I feel I have less and less ability to bounce back. The boss telling us ‘hang in there’ just doesn’t cut it anymore. I’m worn down.

I just white knuckle it and try to plan a vacation to look forward to when the wave breaks.” — Rachel Hroncich, hospital pharmacist, Los Angeles

“Even with shortages of staff, supplies and medications, we are expected to maintain a standard of care and outcomes that are not possible. Essentially, I don’t have what I need to do a good job. I leave every shift wondering if I did anything good. It’s crushing and contributing to my burnout.” — Jaclyn Oppedisano, registered nurse, San Francisco

“I decided to leave and retire early in the summer of 2021. I left after so many fights trying to get people to wear masks inside the facility where I worked, or having them take off their masks and cough in my face to prove that Covid did not exist.” — Susan Hartzell, registered nurse, South Lake Tahoe

“I am so frustrated with the majority of my younger patients (I work on a maternity unit) who have not been vaccinated and do not want to be vaccinated. While I no longer feel like I’m literally taking my life in my hands to come to work every day, I am really tired of wearing N95s and full P.P.E. for the increasing numbers of positive patients.

A quarter of our staff has had Covid recently and I feel like it’s just a matter of time for me. And now we need to work even if we test positive but are asymptomatic. Everything we do feels futile and it’s exhausting.” — Erin OBrien, registered nurse, McKinleyville

“I think anyone in health care who says that they have not thought about leaving is in denial. Just when you think it’s getting better and you can switch to paper/surgical masks and holiday/birthday potlucks, there is another surge. Just when you plan your kid’s birthday party, there is another surge.” — Dr. Pratima Gupta, OB-GYN, San Diego

“My nerves are frayed. I’m disbelieving how cavalier people are. I always thought care went both ways. I had a lot of hope when the vaccines became available, but I now don’t want to keep doing what I do for people who refuse to get vaccinated. It makes me feel disregarded.” — Yuting Wong, nurse practitioner, Oakland

“I am drained and find myself empty when I come home at the end of day. There is no one to care for me. Self-care has become a Sisyphean task. There is a lack of joy and a loss of hope. I am disheartened by the sheer number of people who feel they know better than the scientists by reading something online or hearing some nonsense from a friend.

It is as if we have given up as a society. It is getting scary out there. I think about moving to another country, some place where there is still a social agreement, the golden rule. Perhaps that place no longer exists but I hope it does.” — Dr. Victoria Altree, inside medication doctor, Pasadena

Bulgur with Swiss chard, chickpeas and feta.


Today’s journey tip comes from Kay Scaramelli, who recommends the coastal city of Pacifica:

“Mussel Beach has trails leading down to the beach, where fishermen and women seem to have a lot of luck. As you walk down, you can find paragliders preparing to lift off, and hang gliders scatter the sky from their launch a few miles north.

Whale sightings are frequent and the coastline is spectacular. Also, there are some great spots to eat in the town, and a boardwalk that is a perfect spot for spotting surfers and seals.”

Tell us about your favourite locations to go to in California. Email your solutions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We’ll be sharing extra in upcoming editions of the publication.


A narrative on how the air fryer crisped its way into America’s heart.


We’re including to our California Soundtrack, a playlist of songs which might be about or evoke the Golden State.

If you could have a suggestion, please e-mail me at CAtoday@nytimes.com with the identify of the music and some sentences about why you assume it ought to make the reduce.

More than 500 acres alongside California’s Lost Coast are being returned to Native American tribes which have inhabited the space for hundreds of years, the nonprofit Save the Redwoods League introduced on Tuesday.

The switch of the land, residence to historical redwoods, is a part of a rising motion to return Indigenous homelands to the descendants of those that lived there earlier than European settlers arrived.

“It is rare when these lands return to the original peoples of those places,” mentioned Hawk Rosales, an Indigenous land defender and a former government director of the Intertribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council. “We have an intergenerational commitment and a goal to protect these lands and, in doing so, protecting tribal cultural ways of life and revitalizing them.”


Thanks for studying. I’ll be again tomorrow. — Soumya

P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Steve Martin or Martin Short (5 letters).

Mariel Wamsley contributed to California Today. You can attain the staff at CAtoday@nytimes.com.

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