'It's an insult': Nurses from South, West say many there doubt COVID-19 threat

Some nurses who volunteered to treat COVID-19 patients in New York City are returning to friends and family in the South and West who doubt the virus is real or underestimate the pandemic's severity, reports The New York Times.

The publication spoke with several nurses from Texas, Arizona and North Carolina who shared stories of family members ignoring their advice to avoid large gatherings or friends downplaying the severity of the virus, The skepticism is often jarring for nurses who saw firsthand the devastation the virus caused in New York City hospitals.

"When someone tells me that they don’t believe the virus is real, it’s an insult. I take it personally," Olumide Peter Kolade, a nurse from California who spent more than three months treating COVID-19 patients in New York, told the Times. Mr. Kolade grew up in Texas and said several friends have sent him videos promoting conspiracy theories about the virus. 

Tamara Williams, a Dallas-based nurse, also volunteered in New York City. Since returning home, she's run into several acquaintances who said COVID-19 was no more serious than the flu. She's removed 50 to 100 friends on Facebook who were sharing false information about the pandemic.

"It’s infuriating," she told the Times. "Unless you've seen it with your own eyes, it is very easy to believe it is not that bad."

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