The Essentials: Inside the Curve

The Essentials: Inside the Curve

First-person diaries from the people on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, the essential workers risking their own health and safety to ensure others are taken care of. From doctors, nurses and paramedics to police officers, transportation and sanitation workers, hear directly from those keeping the world moving while so many are quarantining at home and working to flatten the curve.

Episodes

June 13, 2020 18 min
In Everett, Washington, where the first known case of COVID-19 was reported in the United States, 48-year-old Cassie Franklin says she has had to make decisions she never thought she'd have to. As the mayor of that city, with 112,000 people to answer to, she says over these past few months, she has felt overwhelmed, angry, frustrated and depressed -- and rotates between those emotions throughout the day. Franklin, who is also ...
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With more than 120 of her co-workers having died from COVID-19, 44-year-old New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus operator Mia House says she counts her blessings every day. In March, House started to feel sick. She eventually tested positive for coronavirus and took four weeks off to recover before returning to work. Even though House says the job can be stressful, she's thankful that she and her husband have been...
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May 30, 2020 19 min
Thirty-six-year-old New York City veterinarian Erin Kulick has spent the past months performing essential procedures on pets whose owners are now home and paying more attention to their companions. But being part of the essential workforce has also exposed her and her colleagues at Long Island City Veterinary Center to COVID-19. Dr. Kulick contracted the virus, and she says fighting the illness forced her to face her own mortality....
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May 23, 2020 15 min
Officer Torrey Rowe, who works the night shift for the police department in Edmond, Oklahoma, says that while the opioid epidemic has been a huge problem in her state for some time, she’s responded to multiple overdose calls in just the last couple of weeks. One of those was fatal. Through audio journals provided to ABC News, the 34-year-old police officer talks about how the pandemic has created new challenges for law enforcement,...
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May 16, 2020 13 min
As a food delivery driver in Elkhart, Indiana, 34-year old Wendy Reynolds says she used to have to struggle to get work picking up orders. Today, she works 14-hour shifts, sometimes unable to find a public restroom the whole time, running her car into the ground trying to keep up with orders coming from people waiting at home for their meal deliveries. Reynolds, a mother of two, pays out of her own pocket to stay in Airbnb rentals ...
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May 9, 2020 15 min
"I had a coworker today ask me today 'are we essential or are we sacrificial'?" While the 54-year-old grocery store worker finds joy in serving his Maryland community, he says he and his colleagues worry every day about being on the front lines. Jeff Reid says one of the perks of his job is getting to know the people who come into his store and being able to put a smile on their faces. Through audio journals shared...
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May 2, 2020 15 min
The 26-year-old firefighter/paramedic says caring for people in the rural area of Brady, Texas comes with its own set of challenges. If Kylie Harmon's team needs to transport a critical COVID-19 patient, the nearest trauma center is around 45 minutes away. Harmon, whose boyfriend is also a firefighter/paramedic, comes from a family of paramedics - including her father and aunt - and says she's prepared to put herself at ris...
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April 25, 2020 15 min
The 29-year-old social worker says that the group she works with -- mostly people with mental health needs and low income -- face unique challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Alison Sutter says the community she serves is not able to "shelter-in-place" easily. Because of a lack of resources, including not enough disposable income to stock up on supplies and no credit cards to order delivery food, she says the crisis has ...
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April 20, 2020 17 min
The 38-year old intensive care nurse in Torrance, California says she's used to working long, hectic shifts in the ICU at Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center.  But seeing her patients die alone due to COVID-19, with no family around, has taken a mental toll on nurse Lindsey Burrell. That's when the mother of two decided to reach out to a psychiatrist for help. It's also taken a physical toll.  Generally hea...
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April 20, 2020 12 min
The 39-year-old cardiologist grabs 15 minutes of sleep whenever he can grab it. He's separated from his family, including his six-month old son, only able to connect via FaceTime calls between shifts at his New York City hospital. He's not willing to put his loved ones at risk from the exposure he faces every day as he treats COVID-19 patients. But Dr. Hadi Halazan returns to the frontlines nearly every day, determined t...
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