The “how it started vs. how it’s going” meme has taken all sorts of forms at this point, but an ICU nurse working through COVID updated it with a sobering reminder of what 2020 has meant to people in her profession.

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Kathryn, who told BuzzFeed she just graduated from nursing school this spring, shared a photo of herself presumably around graduation vs one after spending hours in a COVID room.

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“Didn’t exactly expect to be a new nurse in the middle of a highly politicized pandemic but life comes at you fast and even in a pandemic, there’s nothing else I want to do,” she wrote. “Caring for the sickest of the sick is an honor and I treasure my patients.”

It’s clear from Kathryn’s thread that she’s deeply frustrated with the way so many Americans are still refusing to take safety precautions, putting themselves and others at risk for coming into contact with the virus. But she’s dedicated to her job, and hopes these photos might remind people what a “brutal disease” COVID is.

“It’s devastating that basic common sense and decency has been politicized,” she added.

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Kathryn’s photos soon prompted others in healthcare to chime in out of solidarity, with many sharing their own similar pics.

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Others simply reminded her how grateful they are for what nurses and doctors are doing to help us all get through this pandemic the best that we can.

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But despite the photos being of her, Kathryn wants to make sure the spotlight is shined on her COVID patients, who she says "deserve better than this."

“They aren't political pawns or numbers or a lie or a hoax, they are people with families and homes and pets and jobs just like you, and they are not expendable,” Kathryn told BuzzFeed. “Their lives and their health — because survival does not mean recovery — are not a fair trade so that the rest of us don’t have to be inconvenienced. They deserve better. We all deserve better than how the response to this pandemic has been handled.”

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*First Published: December 1, 2020, 9:00 am