On December 31, 2019, the first whispers of a new virus in China began to circulate across international media outlets. A few weeks later, on January 19, 2020, the first confirmed case appeared in the United States.
Of course, none of us knew how quickly the pandemic would spread, how long it would last, or how many of us it would affect. A year and a half later, first responders are still responding to thousands of calls every day.
What kind of impact has COVID-19 had on our nurses, paramedics, and other frontline workers? Keep reading as we explore this important topic.
As you might expect, the number of first responders contracting COVID-19 (and dying from it) is high. Just how high?
Experts expect the pandemic to double the total line-of-duty deaths among firefighters, paramedics, and law enforcement officers. In September 2020, there were already more deaths from COVID-19 than gun violence, fires, vehicle accidents, and other causes combined.
In hard-hit areas like New York, the toll has been even higher. Nearly half of the FDNY’s 4,000 medical responders have contracted COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
And in the first 12 months of the pandemic, over 3,600 frontline workers (doctors, nurses, and other first responders) died after contracting the virus.
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These death tolls are tragic, but what about the frontline workers that continue on?
Like us, they see the news reports and hear the statistics. They’re dealing with the loss of loved ones and respected colleagues. And they’re worried about their families, the economy, and what the future holds.
But in addition to living through one of the most stressful years in history, these first responders also come face-to-face with it every day. Every time a call comes in, they’re faced with the risk of exposure to the virus (and the risk of bringing it home to their families).
And although the vaccine is now widely available, not all frontline workers have received (or want to receive) it.
Coupled with over a year of social isolation and crisis situations, many first responders are struggling right now. Chronic stress and anxiety can lead, in some cases, to PTSD and other emotional or mental illnesses. Unfortunately, many frontline workers are not equipped to cope with the prolonged effects of the pandemic.
Aside from offering practical assistance, what else can you do to support these hard-working men and women? Offer some of these prayers for first responders: protection for cops, firefighters & EMTs so they can continue their brave fight against COVID-19.
There’s no doubt that the impact of COVID-19 on nurses and first responders has been huge. In addition to the people, they’re caring for, they also have their own chronic stress and health concerns to worry about.
The next time you see one of these brave frontline workers, be sure to commend them for all that they do!
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