Medical professionals and first responders have, seemingly overnight, found themselves fighting on the front lines of a battle they didn’t see coming: the battle to keep coronavirus patients alive. In recent weeks, photos of the tired, marked faces of medical professionals have gone viral on social media, showing the toll that the coronavirus pandemic has taken and offering an outpouring of love and support. 
In Atlanta, residents took to giving these medical professionals a boisterous greeting during shift change, which takes place at 8 P.M. local time.
And support they did. That first night, people who are currently locked down as a measure to stop the spread of coronavirus took to their balconies to cheer on those medical professionals as they ended, or began, their shifts.
Neighbors of Emory Midtown Hospital, Grady Memorial Hospital, Atlanta Medical Center, and Piedmont Hospital have all taken to cheering on these professionals at shift change. And each day, the cheers grow louder. Those unaware of the tradition hear the noise and step outside to investigate, only to find themselves getting in on the fun as well.
“I live in the heart of it and went out and we all started cheering,” Buchholtz said.
Residents are also taking to joining in the cheering from their front steps as well, but are of course discouraged to congregate together to cheer, as COVID-19 can be easily spread through droplets expelled from the respiratory system through coughing and sneezing.
Each night, the celebration gets even bigger as the lockdown continues but the tradition spreads. Some in Atlanta have now added banners, signs, and flashing lights to their show of love and support. After a few minutes, the cheering begins to subside, but in these uncertain times, residents live for those moments of jubilation.
Atlanta residents hope that these hard-working nurses, doctors, and other medical staff hear their cheers and know they are appreciated, but it’s important that we not forget how to make their lives easier in a more tangible way.
“Flattening the curve,” which is a term given to reducing the number of hospitalizations from coronavirus, is an important effort to prevent rapid spread of the virus and reduce the strain on our medical systems.
Be sure to frequently wash your hands for 20 seconds using soap and warm water, use hand sanitizer if possible, avoid touching your face with unwashed hands, stay home when you’re sick, avoid people who are sick, clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, and always cover your cough using your elbow. If you sneeze using a tissue, always discard it.
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