An ode to those risking their lives to save lives — COVID-19

Karthiga Ratnam
2 min readMar 29, 2020

A few weeks ago, most doctors were considered to be greedy, entitled and insufferable. No one noticed the garbage collection man or the street sweeper. If you are from a country like Sri Lanka the tri-forces were considered war criminals by some percentage of the population.

Fast forward March 29th, COVID-19 pandemic is gripping the world. And doctors? Heroes! Front line medical staff? Saviors! The garbage collection man? Fearless. The delivery guy? Vital. The tri forces? Valiant.

How times have changed? The drunk who works at the crematorium is playing a more important role in this unfolding crisis than CEOs and world leaders. As the rest of the population watches from the sidelines, these heroes are risking their lives to save EVERYONE!

Doctors know that those with pre-existing conditions are at high risk, but they fight to save their lives anyway. Nurses are falling asleep in corridors of hospitals exhausted after back to back shifts. Humanity’s saviors are fighting to save lives with or without PPEs, wearing garbage bags. So why do they do this? I believe they do this one because they are upholding the oath they took but also because they believe the only way we survive is by trying to save everyone.

Photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels

And what of the rest of us? Well, we have one job — Stay at Home. Think we can manage that? It seems to be a tall order for many! Some are trying to be work out their hero complex by stepping out to feed a hungry family and others are looking for food to feed their families, some are simply jaywalking. But at what cost? By trying to feed one family today how many countless families are being put at risk?

I remember reading in the Mahabharath, that sometimes duty exceeds our tolerance levels. This is such a time. Will humanity rise to the challenge? Can we stay at home to give the front line staff risking their lives a fighting chance to save everyone?

But it's not all bad. The province of Wuhan is coming out of lockdown because the 60 odd million people thought it was their civic duty to stay indoors and fight the spread. A father in self-quarantine didn’t attend his own daughter’s funeral because he believed it is his social obligation to stay indoors.

It was Andrea Randall who said “Heroes don’t always wear capes, badges, or uniforms. Sometimes, they support those who do.” This is our time to support those who do! Be a hero! Stay at home! Humanity needs it! But more importantly, so do the front line workers who are risking everything to save us all.

To all those in the front lines risking your lives so that we may live, I salute you!



Karthiga Ratnam

Impact-Driven Category Designer | Working group member Wicked 7