Editorial: Our Caregivers Are Heroes

April 21, 2020

1199ers are the front line in the fight against the spread of COVID-19.

CovidEditorial_fa.jpgAs this magazine goes to press, we are facing an unprecedented moment in modern history. Much of the world is engulfed in a pandemic, with skyrocketing infection rates and more people falling ill every day.

The novel coronavirus isn’t just taking a physical toll; the illness is aggravating every tear in the global social fabric. Here in the United States, just a few weeks into the epidemic, the economy shuddered. More and more workers, particularly those in lower-wage and service industries, are losing jobs. Among the employed, working parents—already strained by the country’s unaddressed childcare needs—cast about for secure, dependable care for their kids.

Shuttered schools mean parents are cobbling together care on the fly, then heading out into an uncertain world to earn a living and support their families.

Seniors, one of the groups most vulnerable to the novel coronavirus, are in many places left to fend for themselves, without broad ranging eldercare. And of course, there’s the new burden on our inadequately resourced healthcare system.

Already under near constant attack from budget hawks and corporations seeking to make a buck, healthcare is straining beneath the weight of previously unseen patient loads, a federal government unwilling to wholly address a national crisis, and the pre-existing conditions aggravating it.

Yet, despite all of that, our front-line defenders continue to be there for us. Every day, the women and men who work in our healthcare system show up and gown up to save lives and fight the spread of the coronavirus. Every day, caregivers leave behind their own families, and brush aside fear and anxiety to care for strangers.

Our caregivers make sure strangers’ children are well and cared for. They make sure strangers’ aging parents get healthy and enjoy more robust years with their children and grandchildren. They cool our fevers, ease our breath, and blunt the pain of our aches.

In this magazine are the faces and names of those who belong on posters and in headlines. These are the people who deserve our respect, admiration and gratitude. These are our world’s real heroes.

The pages of this publication hardly do them justice and are in no way fully capable of representing their contribution or expressing the gratitude of a nation. But it is a start. These few names and faces of our front-line defenders are representative of an army 450,000 strong.

These are the people who every day are helping save us. They will lead us to a place where we can start to rebuild our nation and the world.

1199 Magazine | March / April 2020