From the moment the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of the coronavirus a global pandemic, doctors, nurses, and other medical staff have been at the frontlines of the battle against the horrible disease that is COVID-19. They have faced enormous challenges in delivering primary care to patients, struggling with the lack of personal protective equipment, long shifts, nursing shortage, the constant fear of catching and spreading the virus, patient safety, disease control, and many other issues related to their work.
Isolated and overwhelmed, they would see their patients and colleagues die. According to research done by Amnesty International, at least 17,000 healthcare workers have lost their lives from COVID-19 just in the first year of the pandemic, which amounted to a health worker dying every 30 minutes!
According to another research, the ‘Lost on the Frontline,’ the most complete accounting of U.S. health care worker deaths, more than 3,600 doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals perished in the first year of the pandemic. Based on this research, the first known American physician to die of coronavirus was doctor Frank Gabrin, who, like many others, worked on the front lines of the surge, treating patients in New York and New Jersey without PPE. His story of working through such a massive crisis to save lives shared similarities with thousands that followed.
Mental health during the pandemic
Public health was in rapid decline, and with it, the mental health of our healthcare professionals. Nevertheless, these brave people would work until they would drop, literally. And when they did, their colleagues had to push on through the horror of not just patient care but also seeing their potential future every time they would walk past one of their intubated, critically ill colleagues.
More than 3,000 doctors were infected at the start of the pandemic in China, including the brave doctor Li Wenliang who first tried to raise the alarm about this disease. In Italy, the number of infected healthcare workers has doubled the Chinese total, while in Spain, nearly 14% of their confirmed coronavirus cases were medical professionals.
Why is recognition for Health workers necessary?
The majority of those who died were younger than 60. Nurses and medical staff died in higher numbers than doctors. Twice as many health care workers died in nursing homes as in hospitals. Despite all the risks and chaos, despite the new variants of the virus spreading faster than fire, these brave people choose to show up every day and give their best to save lives. This is why we are proud and happy to praise them as laureates of this years’ World Happiness Catalyst Award. Although just a symbolic award, it is our way of honoring the tremendous sacrifice every doctor, nurse, and any other healthcare provider had to endure.
With our World Happiness Catalyst Award, we recognize individuals who go above and beyond to bring freedom, consciousness, and happiness to the world. Thanks to these game-changers, every day is a new opportunity to make a positive difference. Discovery, Connection, Gratitude, and Compassion are a major part of their values. Join us in our celebration of people and communities, making this planet a better place for all!