Daily Video

March 24, 2020

Health care workers on the frontlines of war against coronavirus

Staff nurse Lt. Gretta Walter awaits the arrival of coronavirus test patients in the emergency room at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, March 18, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque



Directions: Read the news summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions. Follow along with the transcript here.

Teacher’s note: Be sure to watch the video before sharing with your students. If you are making plans for distance learning, take a look at our list of PBS resources that covers a variety of subjects for middle and high school students. 

News summary: Concern is growing around the country over how frontline health care workers will deal with a potential surge of very sick coronavirus patients. Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals are also worried about their own health and that of their families. PBS NewsHour Correspondent William Brangham talks to Dr. Billy Goldberg, an ER doctor at NYU Langone Health, and Dr. Anish Mahajan, chief medical officer at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

Discussion questions:

  1. Essential question: Why do health care workers play an essential part in our society, particularly during times of crisis?
  2. How do health care workers deal with the extra risks they face treating patients with coronavirus?
  3. Notice the manner in which the two medical professionals talked about the challenges hospitals are facing, including lack of medical supplies, masks being “visibly spoiled” and fears about staff bringing COVID-19 home to their families. What skills and qualities do the physicians show in this interview? How do those skills help them perform their jobs better?
  4. If you are worried after hearing some of the concerns health care workers are facing, who is someone you could talk with? Why is it important to talk with another person?
  5. Media literacy: Take note of the types of questions that NewsHour’s William Brangham asked the medical professionals. What types of questions did Brangham ask? How did he keep them meaningful? How do you form a good question that will be helpful to viewers?
  6. Media literacy optional: NewsHour published the article What is a ventilator and how does it help COVID-19 patients?.  Why might some students like to read articles about the science behind the coronavirus while other students may prefer to read more personal stories. Keeping in mind that it is a good idea to limit your news consumption, particularly during times of crisis, what types of news stories on the pandemic do you find yourself reading? Why do you think this is the case? 

Extension activities: 

  1. As the global spread of the novel coronavirus accelerates, over a fifth of the world’s population is being asked to stay home. More than 35,000 cases and at least 400 deaths are confirmed in the U.S. Meanwhile, Congress is struggling to come to agreement on a bill to provide economic relief to Americans in the pandemic’s wake.
    • Watch the following NewsHour story (STOP video at 4m:00s mark) and following along with the transcript hereAsk your students: What will it take for Congress to agree on a bill that helps the American people and not “play politics”?


2. Music education: Have your students tag their music videos using #SongsOfComfort and @NewsHour. Find out more about how to participate in this Extra Daily News Story here: Yo-Yo Ma provides comfort in a time of crisis


For monthly updates containing teacher resources on Election 2020, click here. Sign up for short education highlights from the PBS NewsHour here.


To learn more about the coronavirus and how to get the support you need, read Coronavirus: Multilingual Resources for Schools by PBS WETA’s Colorin Colorado.

  • Tags:

  • Related Stories

    Tooltip of related stories

    More Videos

    Tooltip of more video block

    Submit Your Student Voice

    NewsHour Extra will not use contact information for any purpose other than our own records. We do not share information with any other organization.

    More Videos