On November 27, Oregon reported over 820 new coronavirus cases, pushing the state’s cumulative total over 70,800. That same day, an oncology nurse at Salem Health posted a sneering video to TikTok, in which she boasted about the all the ways she defies guidelines implemented to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Per the New York Times, the nurse — who has not been named publicly — has since been placed on administrative leave, pending an internal investigation.
Though the nurse’s account has since disappeared from the platform, the controversial video has been preserved by numerous TikTok users who found it condemnable. “When my coworkers find out I still travel, don’t wear a mask when I am out, and let my kids have playdates,” reads text that pops up at the start of the video, in which she dons scrubs and a stethoscope in what appears to be a medical facility. She then begins to lip-sync to an audio clip from How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which plays in the background, evidently to compare herself to the movie’s central character.
While many COVID skeptics and otherwise reckless individuals have used social media to flaunt how they’re each flouting coronavirus guidelines, infrequently has the provocateur been someone who works in the medical industry and treats immunocompromised patients. The video, as expected, swiftly drew the ire of the public, some of whom alerted Salem Health to its existence. Just one day after it was uploaded, Salem Health condemned the video in a statement, denouncing the nurse’s “cavalier disregard for the seriousness of this pandemic and her indifference towards physical distancing and masking outside of work.” The nurse “does not speak for Salem Health,” assures the statement before relaying that the nurse has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.
But notice of the nurse’s change in employment status has not been met with widespread relief. Rather, per a quick scan of the 1,000-plus comments under Salem Health’s Facebook post about the TikTok video, many believe the punishment to be too lenient, and have called on the hospital to fire her immediately. “As someone fighting cancer, I can only imagine how her patients feel after seeing this news,” reads one comment. Another person challenged the necessity of an investigation, calling the TikTok video “evidence enough.” Even some people who say they have loved ones undergoing cancer treatment at Salem Health have populated the comment section: Wrote one woman whose mother-in-law is apparently a cancer patient at the hospital, “I kinda feel like puking.”