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Doctors Fear Being Taken Out of the Game by Infected Patients

  • Isolation sidelines clinicians when they’re needed most
  • Letting them keep working after exposure risks spreading virus
Health care workers in protective suits stand outside a COVID-19 drive-through testing facility at Glen Island Park in New Rochelle.
Health care workers in protective suits stand outside a COVID-19 drive-through testing facility at Glen Island Park in New Rochelle.Photographer: Angus Mordant/Bloomberg

A new sign spans the width of the entrance to Shawn Purifoy’s medical clinic. Visitors can’t miss it. “STOP,” it says, warning people with respiratory symptoms to go back to their cars and call for instructions.

Purifoy, a primary care doctor in Malvern, Arkansas, can’t risk contact with anyone infected with the new coronavirus and a two-week quarantine that would paralyze his solo practice, he said. “That’s 14 days I can’t take care of people’s heart disease and diabetes and congestive heart failure.”