The Heroes of the Pandemic Era

Athena Merritt avatar

by Athena Merritt |

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On April 28 of last year, I had one thing on my mind and it wasn’t my sarcoidosis. I was crammed in a movie theater for “Avengers: Endgame” learning the fate of my favorite superheroes. Filling theaters in record-breaking numbers may now be a thing of the past. But, what will always remain are heroes. Today on the United States’ National Superhero Day, they can be found all around us. 

(Drawn by Joe Quesada, colored by Richard Isanove)

Trading fictional superheroes, for real ones

From the ranks in essential businesses to healthcare staff on the frontlines, heroes are braving a pandemic that has kept most homebound. At times, they are working without adequate equipment or without protections in place. Some have no choice because they need paychecks and governments have ruled their work essential. Many are underpaid, overworked, and unappreciated. Every one of them is a hero. 

They are heroes because they put their lives at risk to serve others. They are heroes because many entered the battle already short on staff, such as doctors, nurses, and home healthcare workers — but not short on heart. They are heroes because while we sit home and wait for our lives to return to normal, they are out fighting.

Homegrown heroes

It’s not only the workforce in the thick of the pandemic who are heroes. It’s the people coming up with ideas to help from home.  Such as those (some just kids) using 3D printers to churn out everything from masks and face shields to ear guards for donation to essential workers. And we can’t forget the innovative entrepreneurs who revamped operations to not only stay in business but also provide much-needed supplies. Take for example the New Jersey manufacturer that went from making compact discs to face shields, and the many distilleries that are now mixing up hand sanitizer, too. 

Living during these times with a rare disease we can’t escape being reminded by friends, family, and the media that vulnerable populations are at greatest risk. Right now, more than ever, I need to believe in heroes. I need to believe in beating the odds. I need to believe that those knocked down can rise again. Victories, like the 101-year-old who beat COVID-19 in Long Island, give me hope. 

While holed up at home, many may not feel like they are contributing enough to the ongoing battle. However, each day we stay home is one more day that resists the infection’s spread. Right now our heroes need all of the days they can get to win this battle. So stay home, stay safe, and mask up if you have to go out.  

A brighter side

We all could use a break from bad news right now. So, I’m closing my columns with a roundup of positivity until we are able to say goodbye to masks, hug our loved ones, and leave our homes without fear.

  • Marvel fans assemble: Marvel Unlimited is providing free, digital access to many stories until May 4. Marvel Insider has also rolled out Marvel video chat backgrounds.  
  • Group fun can be more than just watching Netflix Party. Check out this article by Mental Floss about games you can play online with friends and family.
  • If you are part of the rare disease community and struggling financially as a result of COVID-19, the National Organization for Rare Disorders has a new financial assistance program that could help.


Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, Bionews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.


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