Shaved heads, adult diapers: Life as a nurse in the coronavirus outbreak

Like all of her colleagues, Ms. Zhang grew accustomed to wearing sweat-soaked clothes under her suit. She accepted that there weren’t enough masks to go around for staff. She took care not to tug on the seams of her protective suit, having learned the hard way that it will unravel. But she has also cut off all of her hair and had to have uncomfortable conversations with her superiors about menstruation.

For personal hygiene and convenience, Ms. Zhang had her hair cut short during her 30 days in the quarantine zone of the hospital. Chinese state media has called female medical workers who shave their heads “the most beautiful warriors” fighting the outbreak. At the grocery store, “someone called me ‘handsome!’” Ms. Zhang said. The hospital paid for the haircut.

The most difficult moment for Ms. Zhang came when her superiors — almost all men — told her and her female colleagues that they “lacked the spirit of devotion” and discipline after they sought help getting pads and tampons.

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