How To Thank Coronavirus Helpers #HelpingTheHelpers

Khang T. Vuong, MHA
Khang T. Vuong, MHA27 Jan 2021

Article was written by Jacquelin Slobin, Alyssa Orcuilo, and Khang Vuong, MHA

Who are the Coronavirus helpers?

There are 17 million people who work in healthcare in the U.S. roughly half are considered frontline workers. During this pandemic, these selfless individuals, along with other essential workers, are putting themselves on the line to save other people‚s lives and improve the overall health of community members.

Some of these groups of people include but are not limited to health care professionals, researchers, volunteers, teachers, workers of restaurants and supermarkets, and sanitation workers.

Health care professionals (doctors, nurses, PAs) are giving immediate care to those who are ill, providing life support, and putting themselves at risk for contracting COVID-19. They are tirelessly working on the front lines of this pandemic.

  • Researchers are working tirelessly to come up with a vaccine and possible therapies to treat patients with COVID-19
  • Volunteers are giving blood, donating supplies, making masks, and doing online work to support health care workers during this pandemic
  • Grocery store workers are also putting themselves at risk by going to work to make sure that their communities have food. They have to sanitize grocery stores to make sure that they are lowering the chance of infection among community members
  • Teachers have quickly transformed their classrooms to be online, ensuring that they are still providing effective teaching and support for their students

Credit: Times magazine


What are people doing to celebrate healthcare workers?

New York City, NY

Nightly clap at 7 PM every night New Yorkers are clapping at their open windows to thank health care workers. People are also standing outside hospitals and driving by with signs that say thank you. 

Restaurants are donating meals for health care workers to eat during their shifts.

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Chicago, IL

In Downtown Chicago, large buildings and landmarks are lighting up blue with blue lights to thank healthcare workers. At 8 PM among the high rises of the South Loop, neighbors camp out on their balconies flashing flashlights, noisemakers, and stereos blasting triumphant songs.

Chicago buildings to turn on blue lights in celebrations of health workers

Los Angeles, CA

Restaurants across LA are offering free meals to healthcare workers. The Wilshire Grand darkens its‚ rooms and has been displaying an enormous digital display that reads thank you, medical workers.‚

Google Doodle Initiative

Google launched a doodle series on Monday to honor those on the frontlines in the war against COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. On its homepage, they wrote, “To all the public health workers and to researchers in the scientific community, thank you.”

Google Doodles helping the helpers

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Airbnb announced a new global initiative to help connect those responding to the COVID-19 pandemic with safe and convenient places to stay while they carry out their critical work. The main goal is to connect and protect 100,000 healthcare professionals, relief workers, and first responders around the world. Airbnb will waive all fees for stays arranged through this initiative.

Three ways you can donate and help Coronavirus healthcare workers

The World Health Organization (WHO) would be grateful for any monetary donations to support their patient care, funding of supplies, and research on possible vaccines as well as treatments. Here are some of the developments that WHO was able to make because of generous donations: bought and shipped PPE to over 133 countries, created technical guidance documents for the public, supplied 1.5 million diagnostic kits, and helped to accelerate research for treatment.

Donations can be made using this link.

The National Foundation for Cancer Research relies on small to medium donations to fund cancer research around the country as well as helping underserved communities access healthcare - an often-overlooked population amidst the Coronavirus pandemic.

Donations can be made using this link.

The Salvation Army relied on generous monetary donations from its supporting communities in order to continue providing support during this time. Since many families are facing job loss, reduced hours, and other financial challenges, donations are needed to provide adequate emergency assistance to members of this population. Over 23 million individuals living in poverty rely on The Salvation Army‚s support annually, and donations will be going towards efforts to slow the spread of the virus within this population.

Donations can be made using this link.

New York City hospitals and clinics are accepting the following items for donation:

  • Ventilators
  • Disposable latex-free gloves, all sizes
  • Single use (disposable) full face shields (should cover front and sides of the face)
  • Indirectly-vented goggles, any size
  • Single use (disposable) fluid-resistant gowns, any size
  • Face masks (must be labeled as surgical, isolation, dental, or medical procedure masks)
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Thermometers
  • Surgical N95 respirators
  • N95 Respirators
  • N99/N100 Respirators
  • R95 Respirators
  • P95/P99/P100 Respirators


Volunteer your time to help the helpers

It is essential that when volunteering during this COVID-19 outbreak, it is being done in an organized and safe way. 
New York Cares is running a volunteer service. 

You can also safely drop off groceries for elderly people in your neighborhood who cannot go into public spaces at this time
American Red Cross is looking for volunteers to donate blood that will be used in hospitals at this time. You can use this link to schedule a blood donation near you.


How to support Coronavirus helpers emotionally

According to the University of Washington, the Coronavirus virus pandemic could end one to two months after the peak date, sometime in mid-April. This means we could expect the current situation to last until late May or early June.

With that being said, 30-45 days is a very long time for those who are working on the frontline. While most of us are still in quarantine, there are things we could do at the individual level to help:

  • Make a list of friends and family who work in the healthcare frontline
  • Say thank to them personally
  • Ask if they need any support with shopping for groceries
  • Offer to help with watching their pets

Lend a hand, it means a lot


Khang T. Vuong, MHA

Khang T. Vuong received his Master of Healthcare Administration from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University. He was named Forbes Healthcare 2021 30 under 30. Vuong spoke at Stanford Medicine X, HIMSS conference, and served as a Fellow at the Bon Secours Health System.