In the age of coronavirus, NHS staff are (quite rightly) our A-list heroes

Written by Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

Celebrity updates? Forget ‘em. Nowadays, doctors, nurses and healthcare workers are the internet’s heroes. 

There’s no point denying it: coronavirus has turned the world upside down. We’re all staying indoors in a bid to flatten the Covid-19 curve, we’re all working from home (or trying to, anyway: it’s hard to concentrate), and the supermarkets are bare.

But there’s another, less obvious, way that the world has changed, and that’s in how we define the word ‘celebrity’.

Once upon a time, we were all obsessing over social media updates from our favourite celebrities. Nowadays, though, our attention has turned to posts from the healthcare heroes fighting to save lives amid the ongoing pandemic. 

Case in point? Well, YouTube’s newest star, who boasts over 566,000 subscribers thanks to his videos addressing the realities of the novel coronavirus, is A&E nurse John Campbell. 

Over on Twitter, Dr Yale Tung Chen, an emergency physician at Hospital Universitario La Paz in Madrid, has racked up well over 67K followers after he began sharing daily updates about his own Covid-19 symptoms.

Meanwhile, on Instagram, Alessia Bonari, a young nurse working on the frontline of Italy’s fight against Covid-19, shot up to well over 140K followers after sharing a post outlining the realities of the disease. 

AndNick Dennison, a consultant anaesthetist working in Frimley Park Hospital, went viral when his own Covid-19 plea received 102K shares on Facebook.

There are many others, of course. Health worker Robert Isaacs’ YouTube video, which saw him use a bucket of water and a plastic bottle to explain the government’s strategy on tackling Covid-19, racked up over 490,000 views in 24 hours. 

Dawn Bilbrough, a critical care nurse who couldn’t buy any food in the supermarket after a 48-hour shift, saw her own video go viral when she shared an emotional plea with the public to stop stockpiling. 

And let’s not forget Abdu Sharkawy, the doctor and infectious diseases specialist who shared his own powerful message about pandemic-induced selfishness… and racked up thousands of Facebook likes in the process.

It makes sense, of course, that we’re so interested in what these medical personnel have to say. They’re on the frontline, they know the coronavirus situation best, and we’re desperate for any and all information.

But it’s more than that, really: we’ve always been captivated by tales of courage and bravery. Of selfless sacrifice. Of superheroes. And these people are fighting to keep us safe. They’re risking their own health to ensure the safety of everyone else. They’re sacrificing time with loved ones in order to ensure that every Covid-19 patient in ICU gets the best care possible. 

It doesn’t get more superhero than that, does it?

This week, 4,500 retired doctors and nurses signed up to rejoin the NHS in just 48 hours. Some 170,000 others have volunteered to join the NHS Army. They did this in spite of all those video updates underlining the realities of coronavirus, and in spite of the fact that a shortage of hospital ventilators means doctors face some truly horrible decisions ahead.

And that’s why, on Thursday 26 March, thousands of people around the country will be applauding these hard-working heroes.

“During these unprecedented times they [NHS workers] need to know that we are grateful. Please join us on: 26 March at 8pm for a big applause (from front doors, garden, balcony, windows, living rooms, etc.) to show all who are working at the frontline, our appreciation for their ongoing hard work and fight against the virus,” reads a statement about the initiative.

We here at Stylist will be joining in the applause whole-heartedly. Because every single one of these people deserves our love and support. 

But please remember this: while NHS staff are undeniably the A-listers of the coronavirus pandemic, they are heroes always.

With that in mind, we hope that, even after this Covid-19 nightmare is over, everyone will remember to support these hard-working healthcare heroes forevermore.

Image: Getty

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