Life

Coronavirus: in the age of Covid-19, NHS staff are (quite rightly) our A-list heroes

Celebrity updates? Forget ‘em. As people around the world celebrate International Nurses Day, we explore how nurses and healthcare workers have become the internet’s heroes. 

Updated on 12 May 2020: the coronavirus has turned the world upside down. Many of us are staying indoors in a bid to flatten the Covid-19 curve, just as many of us are working from home (or trying to, anyway: it’s hard to concentrate), and the daily death toll continues to rise on a daily basis.

But the world has changed in another, less obvious way, too. And that’s in how we define the word ‘celebrity’.

Once upon a time, we were all obsessing over social media updates from our favourite celebrities. Nowadays, though, our attention has turned to posts from the healthcare heroes fighting to save lives amid the ongoing pandemic. 

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Case in point? Well, YouTube’s newest star, who boasts over 688,000 subscribers thanks to his videos addressing the realities of the novel coronavirus, is A&E nurse John Campbell

Over on Twitter, Dr Yale Tung Chen, an emergency physician at Hospital Universitario La Paz in Madrid, has racked up well over 67K followers after he began sharing daily updates about his own Covid-19 symptoms.

Meanwhile, on Instagram, Alessia Bonari, a young nurse working on the frontline of Italy’s fight against Covid-19, shot up to well over 120K followers after sharing a post outlining the realities of the disease. 

And Nick Dennison, a consultant anesthetist working in Frimley Park Hospital, went viral when his own Covid-19 plea received 102K shares on Facebook.

There are many others, of course. Health worker Robert Isaacs’ YouTube video, which saw him use a bucket of water and a plastic bottle to explain the government’s strategy on tackling Covid-19, racked up over 490,000 views in 24 hours. 

Dawn Bilbrough, a critical care nurse who couldn’t buy any food in the supermarket after a 48-hour shift, saw her own video go viral when she shared an emotional plea with the public to stop stockpiling

And let’s not forget Abdu Sharkawy, the doctor and infectious diseases specialist who shared his own powerful message about pandemic-induced selfishness… and racked up thousands of Facebook likes in the process.

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It makes sense, of course, that we’re so interested in what these medical personnel have to say. They’re on the frontline, they know the coronavirus situation best, and we’re desperate for any and all information.

But it’s more than that, really: we’ve always been captivated by tales of courage and bravery. Of selfless sacrifice. Of superheroes. And these people are fighting to keep us safe. They’re risking their own health to ensure the safety of everyone else. They’re sacrificing time with loved ones in order to ensure that every Covid-19 patient in ICU gets the best care possible. 

It doesn’t get more superhero than that, does it?

Just a few weeks ago, 4,500 retired doctors and nurses signed up to rejoin the NHS in just 48 hours. Some 170,000 others volunteered to join the NHS Army. They did this in spite of all those video updates underlining the realities of coronavirus, and in spite of the fact that a shortage of hospital ventilators means doctors face some truly horrible decisions ahead.

And that’s why thousands of people around the country have been applauding these hard-working heroes every single Thursday at 8pm.

“During these unprecedented times they [NHS workers] need to know that we are grateful. Please join us… at 8pm for a big applause (from front doors, garden, balcony, windows, living rooms, etc.) to show all who are working at the frontline, our appreciation for their ongoing hard work and fight against the virus,” reads a statement about the initiative.

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We here at Stylist will be joining in the applause whole-heartedly. Because every single one of these people deserves our love and support. 

But please remember this: while NHS staff are undeniably the A-listers of the coronavirus pandemic, they are heroes always.

With that in mind, we hope that, even after this Covid-19 nightmare is over, everyone will remember to support these hard-working healthcare heroes forevermore.

This article was originally published on 26 March 2020.

Image: Getty

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