Health and Science

Photos: 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

The coronavirus pandemic outlined exactly what America sees as essential for a stable society, and many of the workers trying to protect that baseline are toiling under the most trying of circumstances.

The global health crisis has forced entire countries into lockdowns, ordering people to stay at home or practice social distancing to help stop the spread of the virus.

Even our first responders — our nurses, doctors and EMTs — have never faced the types of challenges Covid-19 produces. These essential workers risk their own health every day to help protect as many lives as they can, often enduring shortages of life-saving medical equipment and personal protection such as gloves and masks. Essential workers also include police officers, firefighters and the National Guard who help maintain order. 

Employees in grocery stores, take-out restaurants, the U.S. Post Office, warehouses and drugstores are just some of those 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

Postal workers

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Food deliverers

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 employees

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

Essential farm workers harvest zucchini on the Sam Accursio & Son's Farm on April 1, 2020 in Florida City, Florida.
Joe Raedle | Getty Images

Food bank staffers

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 deliverers

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 in Detroit, March 24, 2020.
Seth Herald | AFP | Getty Images