Essential workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus crisis

Medical personnel are seen outside NYU Langone Health hospital as people applaud to show their gratitude to medical staff and essential workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic on April 11, 2020 in New York City.

Noam Galai | Getty Images

One of the key takeaways the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted is what we deem essential for our society to function under the most trying of circumstances.

The global health crisis has forced entire countries into lockdowns, enforcing stay-at-home orders and practicing social distancing measures in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.

Even our first responders — our nurses, doctors and EMTs — have never faced such challenges that this virus has produced. These essential workers risk their lives every day to help save as many lives as they can, often under overwhelming conditions such as a shortage of life-saving medical equipment and PPE. Essential workers also include police officers, firefighters and the National Guard who help maintain order amidst all the chaos. 

Grocery store workers, food and gig workers, package and postal delivery workers, warehouse workers, CVS and Walgreen workers and so many others are risking getting sick to keep the country running.

“Not all heroes wear capes,” Sen. Chuck Schumer said earlier this month while proposing a new “Heroes Fund” stimulus for essential workers. “Some wear masks, some wear scrubs. These Americans are the true heroes of this pandemic, and we need to make sure they’re taken care of.”

The following photos highlight some of our essential workers on the frontlines of this crisis. 


Health workers wearing protective face masks react during a tribute for their co-worker Esteban, a male nurse that died of the coronavirus disease, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, outside the Severo Ochoa Hospital in Leganes, Spain, April 13, 2020.

Susana Vera | Reuters


Firefighters and New Yorkers cheered for healthcare workers who risk their lives to serve for new type of coronavirus (COVID-19) patients in New York City, United States on April 12, 2020.

Tayfun Coskun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images


Medics and hospital workers tend to a COVID-19 patient outside the Montefiore Medical Center Moses Campus on April 07, 2020 in the Bronx borough of New York City.

John Moore | Getty Images


NYPD officers are seen outside Grand Central Terminal during the Coronavirus pandemic on April 6, 2020 in New York City.

Noam Galai | Getty Images


Two Fire Department of New York Emergency Medical Team members attach a Thank You banner outside the emergency room of the Elmhurst Hospital Center on April 7, 2020 in the Queens borough of New York City.

Robert Nickelsberg | Getty Images

Grocery store workers

A Pat’s Farms grocery store worker wears a mask, gloves, and plastic visor on March 31, 2020 in Merrick, New York.

Al Bello | Getty Images

The National Guard

A member of the Indiana National Guard wearing a balaclava supports volunteer workers in distributing food at Pantry 279 to help those experiencing food insecurity during the COVID-19/Coronavirus stay-at-home order.

Jeremy Hogan | Barcroft Media | Getty Images

USPS workers

A United States Postal Service (USPS) employee wearing a protective mask loads an Inc. package into a mail cart in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Monday, April 6, 2020.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Food Delivery workers

A food delivery courier for Grubhub Inc. wears a protective mask in New York, U.S., on Monday, April 6, 2020.

Jeenah Moon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Amazon workers

A view of Amazon Prime delivery vans in Amazon hub, Woodside, a day after protest in Staten Island Borough in New York City amid Coronavirus Pandemic on April 1, 2020.

John Nacion | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Farm workers

Farm workers harvest zucchini on the Sam Accursio & Son’s Farm on April 01, 2020 in Florida City, Florida.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

Food bank workers

A worker wearing a protective face mask fills boxes with watermelons from the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida to be distributed to needy families at a mobile food drop event at the Impact Outreach Ministry on April 6, 2020 in Orlando, Florida, US.

Paul Hennessy | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Funeral workers

Funeral parlor workers move a body from a refrigeration truck serving as a temporary morgue at the Brooklyn Hospital Center to a hearse, in the Borough of Brooklyn on April 8, 2020 in New York.

Bryan R. Smith | AFP | Getty Images

Package delivery workers

A driver for an independent contractor wears a protective mask while operating a delivery truck to delivery N95 respirator masks outside a United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) Ground sorting facility in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., on Monday, April 13, 2020.

Luke Sharrett | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Transit drivers

A bus driver for the Detroit, Michigan city bus line DDOT poses for a portrait wearing a protective mask and gloves for protection in Detroit, Michigan, on March 24, 2020, during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Seth Herald | AFP | Getty Images

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