From stories we hear of the sad plight of our medical front liners, medals of honor, usually given to war heroes, are not likely to be given to today’s heroes in the war against Covid-19. We presume that soldiers go to war for love of country, but by the way we treat medical front liners, we seem to presume they are in the trenches because it is what they do for a living.
Yet, whatever the motive, working in the face of possible infection and even death in lonely hospital rooms, clinics and isolation centers, is nothing less than heroic and, therefore, worthy of our appreciation.
Come to think of it, where would we be in the war against Covid-19 if we didn’t have these brave souls in the front lines?
A lot has been said about what government and private medical institutions can do to show their appreciation of the work of these heroes. It just cannot be stressed enough that these institutions should give all medical front liners their regular and hazard pay promptly. They should also be allowed to take a break, with pay, from their stressful schedules.
This is where the rest of us come in. We can show our appreciation of their work by not unnecessarily (irresponsibly?) adding new infections to their already overflowing load of cases. Our heroes can more easily rest only if Covid-19 cases go down.
We can help keep cases down primarily by getting vaccinated when our turn is up, by observing health protocols strictly and by boosting our immune system with a shift to a healthy lifestyle. More importantly, we might want to avoid insults or hurting words when we criticize the way front liners and back room decision-makers are waging the war against the virus. Our heroes need positive reinforcement and have absolutely no use for hurt feelings.
If there’s anything Covid-19 should have taught us, it is that we are not the center of the universe, not the most powerful, not the most knowledgeable creatures we fancy ourselves to be when we mistreat or put front liners down as happens when we politicize the pandemic.
Unfortunately, many from both sides of the political divide are politicizing the virus and truncating the unity required to successfully fight it.
Covid-19 is a non-human enemy that periodically (yes, there will be more viruses in our future) humbles us into realizing how helpless we really are when mother nature is angry at our destructive ways.
Hence, Covid-19 is best fought with authentic human values of care and concern for the safety and welfare of others. We cannot defeat a non-human enemy by being less than human to others and to all of God’s creation. We owe it to medical front liners and to ourselves to be as human as human can be in these trying times.