An emergency alliance of Utah’s nurses, physicians, assistants, therapists, EMTs, technicians, food service workers and housekeeping staff has spent the past nine months together under constant siege, in an unrelenting battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. Not for their benefit, but for ours.
As the vanguard of the battle against the pandemic, the front-line health care workers of our state are The Salt Lake Tribune’s 2020 Utahns of the Year.
Some of us deeply appreciate not only the exhausting hard work our health care workers are doing, but also the very real personal risk they are taking on our behalf. Others, not so much.
Our health care troops have not only had to do battle against a microscopic foe. They have also been surrounded by too many people who offer too little help, or actively try to make their jobs more difficult and dangerous. Efforts to politicize and monetize the crisis, even to claim that the whole thing is a hoax, have made everything worse.
It is not a hoax.
Utah is fortunate to have two major health care systems, the University of Utah and Intermountain Healthcare, to see to our needs. What leadership we have seen on this crisis has come from the doctors and administrators of those and other medical centers, brushing past wishy-washy suggestions from elected and business leaders to plainly put the harsh truth before us.
The rest of us have a duty to help the helpers. Wash our hands. Keep our distance. Wear masks.
It’s like when the flight attendant tells passengers to put on their own oxygen masks before helping someone else.
Naming the front-line health care workers as The Tribune’s 2020 Utahns of the Year is, we hope, an honor that will, in some small way, help those who risk their lives for their community to feel it was all worth it.
Health care workers are the 2020 Utahns of the Year /p>