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‘The Longest Year’ podcast explores what Americans have faced during the pandemic

We are now one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, and the virus has altered our lives in many ways. The NewsHour launched a new podcast series called, "America Interrupted: The Longest Year." Hosted by Amna Nawaz, she speaks to Americans from all walks of life about what they have faced during the pandemic. Here is a clip from one conversation with an ICU nurse in New York City.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    We're now one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, and the virus has altered our lives in several ways.

    The "NewsHour" launched a new podcast series called "America, Interrupted: The Longest Year," hosted by Amna Nawaz.

    And in it, she speaks with Americans from all walks of life about what they faced over the last 12 months.

    Here's a clip from one of those conversations with an ICU nurse in New York City.

  • Woman:

    I'm ready. You

  • Amna Nawaz:

    You have probably heard Sandra Lindsay's name before. Back in December, her face was splashed across TV screens nationwide when she became the first person in the U.S. to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

    But for this critical care nurse in Queens, the journey to that vaccination began back in March, when the first major coronavirus surge overwhelmed hospitals in New York City.

    I wonder if you can describe for us, because it is hard to remember what it was like. When the cases really started to surge, what did that feel like for you day to day?

  • Sandra Lindsay:

    What I saw were just people scurrying around in personal protective equipment. It looked like we were from another planet.

    And through the face shields, you could just see the fear in people's eyes. You could see the sadness, but you could also see courage. But I know that — I knew that they were just mentally and physically exhausted.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    During those early days of the pandemic, Lindsay says it was relentless. When someone would die, their ICU bed would immediately need to be flipped for another COVID patient.

  • Sandra Lindsay:

    At that point, you're starting to have some moral distress. In addition to the physical and the mental distress, you're morally distressed because you figured that I should have been able to save someone's life, and I couldn't.

    And they passed away, and I can't even spend time to honor their spirit, the way I would have loved to, because somebody else is waiting for the bed, and we're trying to see if we can save that person's life.

    So, it was just — it was just so fast. Sometimes, you didn't have time to think.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Were you ever worried yourself that you might get sick?

  • Sandra Lindsay:

    Oh, absolutely. Every day I left home, I looked in the mirror and I would say, I don't know if I'm making it back home today, but I'm going out.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    That's from our new podcast series, "America, Interrupted: The Longest Year."

    It is so hard to believe.

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