Female nurses in Russia ditch clothes during COVID-19

Russian nurses are not working in their underwear, photos show isolated incident

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Images of an almost naked woman in a see-through protective gown in a hospital ward have been shared on Facebook alongside a claim that Russian nurses don't wear clothes in COVID-19 wards. Although the images are authentic, this was an isolated incident in Russia: the nurse, who was reprimanded, told the media she stripped down to her underwear because she was hot.

This Facebook post from July 10, 2020, shows a female nurse in a male hospital ward wearing nothing but her underwear and a see-through plastic protective gown.

“Covid 19: In Russia the female nurses don't wear uniforms in the men's ward,” reads part of the caption. 

Screenshot of the misleading Facebook post, taken on July 17, 2020

Separate images show two men in hospital beds looking at the woman holding a clipboard. 

The claim, which has been hundreds of times, was also posted to this public Facebook group with more than 74,000 members.  

Comments beneath the post range from disgust to amusement, with one user calling the images "disrespectful and degrading".

Real photos, false claim

While the images are real and were taken in Russia, the accompanying claim is false.

A reverse image search led to news reports here and here about a Russian nurse, identified only as Nadia, who caused a stir in her underwear while working at Tula Regional Clinical Hospital, an infectious diseases facility with COVID-19 patients.

She said she had removed her clothes because she was too hot under her gown. Although she was reprimanded for her actions, she also reportedly received an offer of a modelling contract.

The World Health Organization recommends the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health care workers to keep them safe and prevent transmission of COVID-19 in health facilities. 

According to the Global Heat Health Information Network, someone wearing the full range of PPE can develop “heat stress” and a rise in core body temperature. Medical staff are advised to stay hydrated and reduce clothing layers underneath their PPE.