While vaccinated people appear to be getting far less sick from infections, the superior powers of the Delta variant are allowing the virus to proliferate in their systems and to spread, lethally, to the unvaccinated. Some 20 percent of Santa Monica residents — and nearly 40 percent of those in the county around it — have not yet been fully inoculated, despite the entreaties of public health experts.
“You’re here to take care of the human regardless of the decision they make,” said Vickie Gaddy, a nurse in the unit. But the new rush of infected patients, so soon after the optimism of June 1, has been crushing for Dr. Hammond’s exhausted staff members.
“As an I.C.U. nurse, you know you’re going to see a certain amount of death,” said Masha Crawford, who also works with the hospital’s Covid-19 patients. But, she said, “in this pandemic, you see people who should not be dying die.”