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Give thanks for COVID-19 frontline workers

Yes, we are still in the midst of a pandemic, and we may be for sometime. Already this week in Carter County, alone, we have had five COVID-19 deaths. This pandemic has produced some community heroes, some of whom we hope to spotlight each week in the pages of the STAR.
These heroes are our healthcare workers who must enter the rooms of COVID-19 patients when everyone else must stay away.
Early on in the pandemic, there was a lot of attention paid to nurses, doctors, EMTs, hospital workers and others in the medical arena who were recognized as the frontline heroes battling a difficult and unpredictable disease. But as often is the case, the passage of time has allowed the enormity of the task faced by those in medical careers to be taken for granted
As a nation, we all are suffering from COVID fatigue, but none so much as those who are tasked with dealing day after day with the physical and emotional suffering inflicted by the disease on patients and their families.
It is easy for us to forget that those for whom the practice of medicine is a calling also have to worry about their own personal lives, even as they try to counter the ravages of the disease professionally. On top of the physical exhaustion and mental strain that comes from dealing with patients, those in the field also must juggle the same challenges as the rest of us — remote schooling, sick family members, forced quarantines, economic hardships, and the harsh reality that they often are forced to put the needs of others ahead of their own families.
Valentine’s Day is just a few weeks away, and we ask that you pause during the first weeks of February for a special thanks for all those who have worked in such incredibly difficult circumstances to provide medical care this year. The enormous task they face shows no signs of subsiding anytime soon, and we will forever be in their debt.
It is easy to get lost in the numbers, and hearing them so often can result in a sort of numbing effect for many of us. But the math cannot be denied. This unpredictable disease has very little effect on most people, but it is deadly or debilitating for others. The country’s death toll is likely to eclipse a half million before spring, and many of those who survive the disease will have lingering issues related to COVID that perhaps will last a long time.
What has to be especially frustrating for those who have been fighting the disease in the trenches of medical care is the knowledge that there are things we can do as individuals to lessen the severity of the pandemic for all, and yet many refuse to do them anyway.
We do not have to shut down the national economy in order to take reasonable precautions on an individual basis. Being asked to show concern for each other is not akin to being forced to forsake basic freedoms guaranteed in our nation’s constitution. Voluntarily wearing a mask in public is addressing a medical concern, not a political issue.
As this virus rages on, we should all commit to do our part as individuals to try to help fight the virus…Take time out in the days ahead to send a thank-you card to a healthcare worker, to a nursing home employee, to a nursing home resident, to an EMT.
We often forget our nursing home residents….they are the forgotten ones. For the most part they have been locked down for almost a year. They were unable to visit with family during the holidays. The days get long for them.
We encourage school children to send Valentines this year to nursing home residents. Let them know they have not been forgotten.
There is so much we can do to show our appreciation to those who are hurting and to those who are on the frontline. It’s just a matter of doing it.