Tuesday, October 19

‘A lot of people did something immense, completely unknown’: Readers’ heroes of 2020 | Coronavirus

AAt the beginning of the confinement, I interviewed the virologist Dr. Jane Greatorex. She was superb, with a twist on the pistolero phrase (“the crown is the only pathogen in town”) and full of advice that collided with the gravity of our situation, like no government press conference. She washed the deliveries before they entered the house, spoke to her neighbor alone through a hedge, and described the precautionary measures taken by her sister, who worked at Waitrose. They were quite intense, involving a lot of clothing changes and black trash bags, plus a life-size cutout from Jürgen Klopp.

I’ve thought a lot about her sister – what it’s like when everyone else avoids their closest friends for safety and you see 50 strangers an hour. I have also thought about delivery men, knocking on doors without having any idea who could isolate themselves behind them; bus drivers, being sneezed by squads of schoolchildren; teachers, caregivers, anyone who is near a hospital. Especially at the height of the crisis (when there were serious doubts as to whether it was safe to operate a gasoline pump) as battalions of people lived in this cacophony of anxiety and caution, and had to block it, every day, to go and do their job. job. The bravery of that is hard to turn into understanding, although as thought experiments progress, it’s far less awkward than trying to imagine what would have happened if everyone in these vital services had simply refused to perform them: if all these workers who, being often underpaid, and previously considered low value, had called the deception of the world.

So, almost by definition, the people we are most grateful to this year, the people who blew us away, are the ones whose names we don’t know. The unknown soldier of our century is the unnamed guy Deliveroo, the virologist’s sister (the virologist was pretty good too).

This list is more than just a roll call – it’s a reminder not to let that gratitude evaporate, in a half-remembered applause or a faded rainbow poster. A lot of people did something absolutely immense, for complete strangers, in 2020 – here are a few of them. ZW

Tracy curran

Staff Nurse: Tracy Curran
Staff Nurse: Tracy Curran

I am nominating my mother, a Royal Oldham hospital staff nurse. She was there at the start of the pandemic when her unit was only admitting urgent patients, and since then she has worked hard to make sure patients receive the care they need. In April, she tested positive for Covid, but soon recovered and went straight back to work, demonstrating her passion for nursing and her commitment to caring for others.
Matthew Williamson, NHS Recruitment Coordinator, Manchester

Supermarket staff

The supermarket staff ... who risked their well-being to feed us.  (Raised by a model).
The supermarket staff … who risked their well-being to feed us. (Raised by model). Photograph: Luis Alvarez / Getty Images

If it weren’t for the bravery of the grocery store staff and delivery drivers, I wouldn’t have been able to order the ingredients I needed to cook the food from my home that I missed so much during the pandemic. A big round of applause to all the staff and drivers who risked their well-being to feed us.
Shweta Menon, student, London

Kaitlin gubbins

My wife has been working tirelessly during the pandemic as a respiratory physical therapist, dealing with Covid positive patients every day. It has been an emotional strain for her for months, but she has always come home with a smile on her face to make sure our son and I don’t have to carry that burden as well. She is an amazing wife, an equally fantastic mother, and deserves recognition for her selfless approach to life.
Jack Gubbins, Physical Education Teacher, Tytherington

Lauren macartney

The ICU Nurse: Lauren McCartney
The ICU Nurse: Lauren McCartney

My partner, Lauren, is an intensive care unit (ICU) nurse with the Belfast NHS Trust. Along with many of her incredible colleagues, she was sent to Nightingale Hospital through the pandemic. We were going to get married in October, but this was canceled and she continued to work through the entire process. She is frazzled and worn out, but she manages to move on because if she doesn’t, other people will suffer. There is no greater commitment in my eyes.
Patrick Gleeson, University Professor, Belfast

Garbage collectors and delivery men

No one came out to slap the garbage collectors or call the supermarket delivery men to get MBE, but they have been absolutely essential for the past few months. They may not have as high a profile as nurses and doctors, but our society could not survive without them. They are not paid properly, much less are showered with praise, but we should all take a moment to acknowledge their contribution.
Stephen Brindle, bus driver, High Wycombe

Pam jones

The foster caregiver: Pam Jones
The foster caregiver: Pam Jones

Pam Jones has been a foster caregiver for more than 200 children and launched Action on Homelessness in Folkestone in 2014. Action on Homelessness now runs under the Salvation Army umbrella and when she’s not in the aisle, Pam is gathering support from grocery stores, banks and other local businesses, with the motto: “If you don’t ask, you don’t receive.” Spend hours driving collecting donations of sleeping bags, gloves, flashlights, and all the basics you might need for a night on the streets. Throughout the confinement, he continued to help the homeless: he personifies the spirit of “everyone inside” through his actions.
Mary Lawes, Retired, Folkestone

Colin ashcroft

The manager: Colin Ashcroft.
The manager: Colin Ashcroft. Photograph: Image provided by Sarah Lishman

Colin is the director of operations for Stagecoach in Portsmouth. He and his assistant operations manager, Shane Crisp, support each and every one of us whatever the dilemma, and the warehouse has become a real family as a result. I had a cancer scare recently, and they both took the time to talk to me to see if there was anything they could do to help me. All of his staff love him, he is a huge supporter of mental health and he leads by example. When the pandemic began, he would put on his overalls and go back to his bus cleaning days to protect them. Throughout all of this, since March, they have been on our side as bus drivers, keeping us safe, always supporting us and being good people, and we all appreciate Colin and Shane very much.
Sarah Lishman, bus driver, Chichester

Petra Priebojova

The UCI coach: Petra Priebojova.
The UCI coach: Petra Priebojova.

For working tirelessly during the pandemic as an ICU technician at St Thomas Hospital. For somehow staying not just sane but cheerful in what was described in April as a “war zone.” For fixing countless fans and not once complaining about risk, morals or anything else. You have illuminated so many lives and were an inspiration to so many people, when things looked very dark in the spring of 2020.
Anya Davies, teacher, Barnet

Dr. Christine Watson

Dr Watson is a critical care consultant at the University of Nottingham Hospitals, who played an important role in preparing for the response to the coronavirus. He created a supportive environment in the most desperate of circumstances and really helped bring out the best in our great team of critical care staff at the University of Nottingham hospitals. He worked tirelessly for the patients, answering all of our questions and complaints. You could never give up if Dr. Watson was around – her energy and smile would always cheer you up.
Milo Hollingworth, Physician, Nottingham

Dr. Mathi Woodhouse

The GP: Mathi Woodhouse
The GP: Mathi Woodhouse Photograph: provided by Dr. Mathi Woodhouse

Mathi is simply an exceptional human being – not only is she kind and compassionate, she is also a family doctor, a caregiver to her elderly parents, and a single mother to her two wonderful children. Mathi has overcome all the challenges of the confinement at the same time. Today she continues to support those in need and care for her two children to the best of her ability.
Stephanie Cohen, Stay-at-Home Mom, London

Compiled by Alex Mistlin


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