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April 20, 2020

Health Care Heroes of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Howard Bauchner, MD1; Thomas J. Easley; on behalf of the entire editorial and publishing staff of JAMA and the JAMA Network
Author Affiliations
  • 1Dr Bauchner is Editor in Chief, JAMA and JAMA Network, and Mr Easley is Publisher, Periodical Publications, JAMA Network
JAMA. 2020;323(20):2021. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.6197

The COVID-19 pandemic has accounted for tens of thousands of deaths and ultimately will affect millions more people who will survive. There will be time to mourn the victims and care for the survivors. But it is also time to recognize and thank some of the heroes who have emerged so far.

Li Wenliang, MD, Chinese ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital, who alerted Chinese authorities of a disease that resembled severe acute respiratory syndrome, was initially censored, and died 6 weeks later of COVID-19.

Anthony S. Fauci, MD, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who has calmly led the US through this pandemic, with experience and intelligence, and who has tried mightily to reassure a worried nation, with science and utmost professionalism.

Maurizio Cecconi, MD, head of the Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Department of Humanitas Research Hospital in Milan, Italy, who looked into a camera, told the story of the early days in Lombardy, Italy, and galvanized the world to prepare for the tsunami of COVID-19 disease to come.

Millions of health care workers—physicians, nurses, technicians, other health care professionals, and hospital support staff, as well as first responders including emergency rescue personnel, law enforcement officers, and others who provide essential services and products—around the world have faced the challenge of providing care for patients with COVID-19, while often ill-equipped and poorly prepared, risking their own lives to save the lives of others. They honor us all with their commitment, dedication, and professionalism.

JAMA and the JAMA Network salute and sincerely thank the countless heroes of this pandemic.

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Article Information

Published Online: April 20, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.6197

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

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    9 Comments for this article
    Exactly the Right Sentiment and Exactly the Right Time
    James Lifton, MBA | Lifton Associates, LLC
    Thank you for expressing this so clearly and publicly. When we have better days, they'll be due in large part to today's heroes.
    Maureen Swan, BS, MHA | MedTrend Inc.
    I think of all of the amazing healthcare workers every day in awe. I am so sorry you are facing such difficult times without the equipment you deserve. You all deserve to be on the cover of Time magazine as "person of the year." You are our country's best. Blessings to all of you.
    Marni Friedman, MD | Family Medicine, Private Practice
    They, and many others, make me proud to be a physician in these times.
    Only Male Doctors
    Deborah Kraut, MILR, MEd | Independent
    Not Dr. Birx, not Dr. Gita Ramjee

    I guess we'll have to wait for the histories to get it right.

    I am not a raging feminist. Just a medical historian who can't enter the men's room.
    Leaders who Care for Front Line Workers Are Also Heroes
    Rajiv Agarwal, MD, MS | Indiana University School of Medicine
    The biggest group of people we can be grateful to are the folks on the front lines, for example the nurses who walk in and out of the rooms of COVID patients on ventilators as if it is just another day. I see real courage in the eyes of these nurses; I know that they are the most vulnerable.

    But I am also grateful to people like Dr Bauchner. In every podcast you have shown genuine concern about people on the front lines. You always ask the people you interview: "What are you
    doing to keep the front line workers safe?" I think that is real leadership. Thank you!
    CONFLICT OF INTEREST: Have Served on several clinical trial steering committees, adjudication committees, data safety monitoring boards, and as a consultant for multiple pharmaceutical companies
    The Lady of the Lamp and Struggle for Modern Nursing
    Rafael Pimentel, Nurse | University of São Paulo School of Nursing (EEUSP), Brazil
    Grateful for the recognition of health professionals and especially nurses. The year 2020 will be forever marked in the memory of nurses because even before the COVID19 pandemic the Nursing Now campaign was scheduled to conclude this year.

    Developed in response to the Triple Impact report, which concluded that nurses improve health globally and empowering them would contribute to improving gender equality and strengthening economies. the campaign started in 2018, supported by the Duchess of Cambridge, and took place in > 30 countries. Its end in 2020 symbolizes the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale (a precursor
    of modern nursing) and the year in which nurses celebrate the year of Nurses and Midwives all over the world.

    Society has not looked at nursing professionals for a long time. An intriguing coincidence the pandemic occurs in the year of Nursing.

    In times of pandemic, we return to Florence Nightingale's teachings in fighting in war scenarios. It will not be forgotten, we will not be forgotten, the current pandemic will mark the struggle of Nursing.

    For where there is life, there is Nursing!
    Women in Public Health
    Anne Newman, MD, MPH | University of Pittsburgh
    Thank you
    • Sara Cody, MD, Santa Clara County Health Officer and 
    • Nancy Rosenstein Messonnier, MD, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    for speaking out!
    Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Shortage
    Aki Nilanga Bandara |
    I am also grateful to JAMA Editor Dr Bauchner. As hospitals all over the world, ran out of personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline healthcare staff fighting the covid-19 pandemic, he promptly acted and invited global JAMA readership, doctors and medical students to contribute ideas to how to address this very impotent issue (1). I think that is real leadership.


    1. Bauchner H, Fontanarosa PB, Livingston EH. Conserving Supply of Personal Protective Equipment—A Call for Ideas. JAMA. Published online March 20, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.4770

    Hail to the Health Care Workers During COVID-19 and at All Other Times
    Michael McAleer, PhD (Econometrics) | Asia University, Taiwan
    Many thanks to the Editors, Editorial Staff and Publishing Staff of JAMA and the JAMA Network for the recognition and appreciation of frontline health care workers, especially during the COVID-19 crisis, but also at all other times.

    Putting your life on the line for patients who need your care and attention the most shows just how much the health and medical needs you.

    As do we all.