The heroism of frontline healthcare workers has been more apparent than ever during the coronavirus crisis, as they’ve worked tirelessly to save lives while putting their own at risk. To better understand and empathize with their experiences, Anthony Padilla, a comedian, digital pioneer, and YouTube host, decided to put himself in the shoes of the doctors, nurses, and scientists who are working around the clock to treat the sick, and hopefully one day, find a cure. 

In a recent episode of his “I Spent a Day With…” series, Padilla sat down (virtually) with Rudy Tanzi, Ph.D., a research scientist at Massachusetts General Hospital, Shailey Prasad, M.D., M.P.H., the executive director of the Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility, and Katie Capano, C.N.M., a certified nurse practitioner and midwife based in New York City. All three professionals are working on the front lines of the pandemic, either through their research or hands-on supervision or care of those infected with the virus. Padilla is donating 100% of the proceeds from the video to #FirstRespondersFirst, which will provide frontline healthcare workers with the resources and support they need to care for themselves, so they can continue to care for us during this crisis. 

Padilla’s conversations with the healthcare workers reveal just how much the virus has impacted those in the medical field. Capano, for example, noted she used to work eight-hour days and treat 20-25 patients in a busy clinic; now, she works a 12-hour shift every single day, seeing anywhere between 30-50 patients who are extremely ill. “I do cry every day,” Capano said, later adding that her routine now consists of working, eating, sleeping, and then repeating the same pattern day in and day out. 

Tanzi, who ordinarily studies Alzheimer’s disease, has switched gears to focus his research on what makes individuals more susceptible to COVID-19. Tanzi said the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is probably 10 times higher than what is being reported, as many are asymptomatic. He himself is coping with symptoms of the disease — “I’ve had symptoms for a while, but I only got tested yesterday,” Tanzi said at the time the video was recorded. 

On top of grueling work hours and a heavy emotional toll, healthcare workers are also being unfairly targeted as carriers of the virus. “It’s actually a really big problem,” Capano said. “A lot of us are being told not to wear our scrubs to or from work, and to change into our scrubs when we get to work, because there have been some assaults on healthcare workers in scrubs because people are afraid of us.”

“After spending the day with these frontline healthcare workers, I’ve come to realize just how much they put on the line every single day, sometimes risking their own lives just to save others,” Padilla said. “Now more than ever, we should take the time to appreciate those working and fighting to keep people healthy during these uncertain times.”

Click here for information about how Thrive Global is supporting our healthcare workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, and find out how you can support the cause by donating to #FirstRespondersFirst.