The calls for citizens to stay at home have been increasing worldwide, and everyone's doing their bit to practice social distancing. However, there are some people, without whom we would not have been able to conveniently stay safe in our homes. Sanitation workers are keeping the possible contamination zones safe; grocery store workers, factory workers and delivery boys are risking their health to keep us fed; pilots and airline crew are bringing stranded passengers home; doctors, nurses and paramedics are working day in and day out at personal cost to themselves; and cops are leaving no stone unturned to protect us. In fact, some are even wearing coronavirus helmets to educate the people on the streets.
Ahead, we celebrate some of these heroes and thank them for their selfless contribution. We’re safe inside because they’re out there fighting for us. Scroll ahead to meet those who are battling the pandemic on the front lines.
Minal Dakhave Bhosale
Image courtesy: BBC News
Just a day before delivering her baby girl, a virologist in Pune delivered the COVID-19 testing kit. Dakhave Bhosale is the research and development chief at Mylab, the first firm in India to have their coronavirus diagnostic kit approved. Her team at the lab raced against time to deliver the test kit in six weeks. Just a few hours after she submitted her proposal for approval, she was admitted to the hospital for a cesarean operation.
The kit costs a quarter of what the imported kits do, and takes around two and a half hours to show results, instead of six to seven hours that other kits take. The Indian Council for Medical Research has confirmed that it may be the only kit in India that gives 100% results.
Image courtesy: Outlook India
Stationed outside Jaipur airport, Abdul Rehman is an ambulance technician who transports suspected passengers from the airport to the hospital. He is trained to keep himself protected, maintain distance from patients and wears the required safety gear. After dropping them off, he takes a bath, and the ambulance is sent for fumigation. It is, however, a high-risk job.
Captain Amitabh Singh
Image courtesy: Devdiscourse.com
Captain Amitabh Singh, former director of operations in Air India, led two rescue flights from India to Wuhan to rescue Indians stuck in the city. His instructions were to land, evacuate and return home. The first flight brought 324 passengers and the second flight ferried 323 Indians and seven Maldivian nationals. Wuhan was under lockdown at the time and the epicentre of the virus. Captain and his 68 crew members wore full body suits and face masks on board while undertaking the most challenging flight of their careers.
Air India has rescued Indians who were stranded in other countries as well. Captain Swati Rawal received a cheer online after she rescued 263 Indian students from Rome and brought them to Delhi. She became the first civilian female pilot to commandeer a relief flight.
Dr Timmy Cheng
Image courtesy: Daily Mail
Like many doctors who have isolated themselves because they’re treating patients, California pulmonary and critical care specialist, Dr Timmy Cheng, has moved into his garage. In a post on Facebook, he uploaded a picture of himself sitting in a tent in his garage, distancing himself from his wife and kids. The doctor slept in his car and a room in the hospital for a few days before his wife came up with this idea. In the post, he appealed to people to stay home.
He isn’t the only one who’s distancing himself from family. In a heartbreaking video, a Saudi doctor broke down when he couldn’t hug his toddler after returning from his shift. In another, a doctor in Arkansas met his son from the glass door after driving an hour to see him. Putting their health at risk, healthcare workers are separating themselves from family and it’s a big sacrifice for them. Most are working with limited medical supply and gear to protect themselves, thus battling increased exposure to the virus themselves.
Chef Jose Andres
Image courtesy: Time.com
Celebrity chef José Andrés is on a mission to feed those in need. Ever since the pandemic began, he has been doing his bit to help out. In early March, a cruise ship was stranded on the port of Oakland due to suspected cases with 2,400 passengers on board. The chef acted fast and set up a tent by its side, to forklift fresh meals for the passengers and the crew. The food was prepared at the University of San Francisco. His charity, World Central Kitchen, had also forklifted food to the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan. Now he has turned his restaurants into community kitchens and his organisation is getting food delivered to families in many American cities. He has also donated 13,000 N95 masks to healthcare workers in D.C.
Image courtesy: Telegraph.co.uk
The world is waiting with bated breath for the coronavirus vaccine, and many clinical trials have already started. The first person to be injected with a potential vaccine was Seattle's Jennifer Haller. Participants are expected to undergo rigorous screening and tests, and the process for finding an experimental cure is long. They will have multiple shots and they will have to log their temperatures, symptoms and side effects for months. Clinical trials have potential risks, and volunteers like Haller are offering themselves for scientific exploration for the greater good.