Doctors are stripping down to expose a major problem with Germany’s coronavirus response: They feel naked on the job without the masks, gloves and goggles they need to stay safe during the pandemic.
German health-care workers have banded together in a movement called Blanke Bedenken, or Naked Concerns, to demand more personal protective equipment (PPE) so they can stay healthy while treating patients with COVID-19.
“To treat you safely, we and our team need protective equipment,” they write on the group’s website. “When we run out of what little we have, we look like this,” they add, above a gallery of photos.
The photos show doctors of various ages in different medical settings, with stethoscopes around their necks and other items carefully positioned to cover their genitals.
“The nudity is a symbol of how vulnerable we are without protection,” Dr. Ruben Bernau, a member of the group, told Germany’s Aerztezeitung newspaper.
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The group, which is composed largely of family doctors, is encouraging other health-care workers to send in their own photos to be added to the gallery.
One photograph shows a doctor holding a sign that says she was “trained to sew up wounds.”
The sign asks: “Why am I now sewing my own face mask?”
The group says it got the nude photo idea from a doctor named Alain Colombie, a 61-year-old who posed naked to demand more PPE in France last month. Colombie wore an armband in the photos with the message “cannon fodder” written on it.
The German movement is calling for people to sign a petition demanding more PPE from government leaders.
The world is still grappling with a shortage of PPE, despite recent efforts to ramp up supply for front-line health-care workers. Germany says it has increased production to try to meet demand, but the supply still hasn’t fully caught up.