Nurses are reporting that their landlords have kicked them out of their homes over concerns about coronavirus contamination.
One Las Vegas nurse told The Daily Beast she had just finished a shift when she received an urgent email from her landlord, an older woman who lived downstairs, that she and her husband needed to vacate their home within 24 hours over COVID-19 fears.
“I don’t want interaction or debate over this decision,” the landlord wrote. “I’m sorry for the abrupt notice, but given the situation, it’s the choice I’m making to protect myself.”
The nurse, who asked to go by an assumed name in the article, said the landlord’s decision was “devastating.”
“I was just really heartbroken and just felt like, ‘How could somebody treat me like this, all because I’m a nurse?’” she said.
A travel nurse from Missouri told the website that several Airbnb hosts had canceled on her in recent weeks after discovering she was a nurse.
“They’re apologetic but they’re just like, basically for our protection right now, we’re not comfortable with that,” said the travel nurse.
Other nurses described similar problems with landlords and Airbnb hosts.
“Honestly, I have never felt scared to be a nurse until this happened,” said a New Hampshire nurse. “We love what we do, we just want to be able to do it without worrying about where we will lay our heads.”
Some of the nurses said they ran into trouble after their evictions trying to find new housing on short notice as the pandemic raged around them.
“We’re being seen as walking Petri dishes,” the New Hampshire nurse said. “While we’re looking out and taking care of other people, who’s taking care of us?”
The nurses pointed out they’re trained against spreading contagion much better than most people, but some social media posts suggest U.S. health care workers — like others in Great Britain and Japan — have suffered abuse and mistreatment while wearing their scrubs outside work.
“We’re hearing from a lot of people, ‘Oh, well this is what you chose to do, so just suck it up’” said the Las Vegas nurse. “So that’s a reason for people to not show human decency?”
They’re also afraid that fear will spread along with the virus until grocery and other food service workers become targets.
“If it’s happening to us, it’s only a matter of time before they’re thrown out of their housing situation,” said a San Diego nurse. “And that’s a real concern, because they don’t have the [financial] buffer.”