Opinion | Showing gratitude: giving thanks for health care workers

In the first edition of a four-part series, Opinions Editor Sophia Meador expresses her gratitude.


Katie Goodale

A COVID-19 testing site in the parking lot of UI Urgent Care in Coralville on Dec. 10, 2021.

Sophia Meador, Opinions Editor

The COVD-19 pandemic has touched, affected, and taken the lives of people across the world.

I am fortunate to have not personally experienced the devasting repercussions of COVID-19. In fact, I consider myself privileged to have witnessed the selflessness and courage of health care workers throughout the pandemic.

In the first edition of a four-part series, I want to express the gratitude and thankfulness for health care workers during the pandemic and beyond.

Almost three years ago, I sat in the back of my AP U.S. Government class in high school reading a newspaper article about an emerging disease found in Wuhan, China. During class discussion, we laughed at the name ‘Corona virus’ because it referenced a certain alcoholic drink that we had no familiarity with.

I never would have imagined how this disease would impact my future and the world at large.

Since the first case of COVID-19 was found in December 2019, more than six million people globally have died from the virus. The World Health Organization estimates that anywhere between 80,000-180,000 health care workers died from COVID-19 between January 2020 and May 2021.

COVID-19 didn’t only take the lives of thousands of health care workers. Health care workers put their lives on hold to answer the call to action during one of the worst-ever public health crises.

Even with the emergence of the COVID-19 vaccine, health care workers had to work against the public outcry of conspiracy theories and distrust of the medical miracle.

Not only have individuals in the health care field worked against the pandemic, they had to work against a former presidential administration and state governments that did not put the health and safety of the public first.

At home, I witnessed the countless hours my mother put into our community as a clinical branch supervisor. I am grateful to my mother for her dedication, and everyone alike who put themself second at the will of COVID-19.

As we approach the third Thanksgiving since the start of the pandemic, some people might see COVID-19 as a memory best forgotten.

Although there have been breakthroughs in treating and preventing the spread of the virus, the pandemic is not over. There will be new outbreaks of disease, and there will be more public health crises in the future.

Before the pandemic, my health was not something I ever thought of. I woke up every morning in the same healthy body that could carry me throughout my day.

Now I know that my health is not a promise or a certainty. Nor is anyone else’s health for that matter. We are only as strong as the people who can treat us in our time of need.

Our health is something we can’t take for granted. To fully appreciate that, we must be grateful for the people who tend to the sick and disadvantage.

To all the individuals who work on behalf of the health and well-being of our communities, I want to express my gratitude for the selfless work you do. This November let’s not forget the individuals who ensure we are well and healthy enough to express our gratitude and thankfulness.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.