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Opinion

Commentary: Pandemic makes clear who the real heroes are

Nursing graduates
Graduating nursing students recite the Nightingale Pledge during a ceremony in 2015.
(Associated Press)

It is not a secret that out of great crises, heroes are often made.

Out of the coronavirus crisis that we are experiencing now, the brave men and women we revere, who dare to tread where most of us would not go, are not the politicians among us.

They are the doctors, nurses, police officers, firefighters, store clerks, checkers and delivery personnel, some of the most gracious and unassuming heroes we have ever known.

Imagine thousands of vulnerable healthcare workers coming out of retirement, putting their own lives on the line for strangers. They do so purposely and without complaint.

This is the stuff of which today’s heroes are made: duty, compassion, selflessness and bravery.

These workers do not even decry the difficult and even dangerous conditions under which they work: shortages of proper safety equipment, insufficient structures to house the critically ill, disorganization of governmental bodies and failure to establish a central agency or a group of leaders to federally unite the counterattack against the coronavirus.

But not all political leaders have failed to respond to the call of their constituents. Newport Beach’s City Council called an emergency meeting last week, responding to some residents’ safety concerns by establishing further beach closures and putting a moratorium on short-term beach rentals. And other surrounding cities have kept their coronavirus statistics relatively low for resort-type environments.

California’s leaders were among the first to call for social distancing and then to mandate it. The governor is also resourceful in finding caches of private medical supplies to arm his healthcare workers.

At this point California is even in a good enough position to loan ventilators to New York City, the epicenter of the virus.

It is important for us to acknowledge that this is a war we are fighting. We all have roles to play.

Helping each other, and those who cannot help themselves, remaining vigilant about not exposing ourselves and those around us to unnecessary risks, and demanding that those in government at all levels provide us with examples of statesmanship, unity and leadership-those are our duties.

The writer lives in Newport Beach.

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