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‘Truly heroes’: Tributes pour in for doctors, nurses fighting coronavirus pandemic

Click to play video 'France: People applaud medical workers amid COVID-19 outbreak in Paris' France: People applaud medical workers amid COVID-19 outbreak in Paris
WATCH: People in Paris clap in a show of solidarity and support for health care and hospital workers who have been dealing with the coronavirus crisis.

Not all heroes wear capes. In the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the real heroes wear scrubs.

Home-quarantined citizens are expressing love for the doctors and nurses on the front lines of the global COVID-19 outbreak, even as it spreads across much of the world. Shouts and applause are ringing out in many locked-down cities, and social media is being flooded with messages of support for those braving the outbreak to help others.

READ MORE: Thousands of nurses answer call to help with coronavirus pandemic: ‘This is the way we are’

In locked-down France, for example, citizens went to their windows and balconies on Tuesday night to applaud healthcare workers in a social media-coordinated gesture of support.

“Bravo to the carers!” one woman shouted out her window in Paris, according to Reuters.

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Dutch citizens also held a public moment of applause for their healthcare workers on Tuesday night.

Spanish and Italian citizens put on similar spectacles last Saturday.

Italians in Milan applaud the efforts of doctors on March 14, 2020.
Italians in Milan applaud the efforts of doctors on March 14, 2020. Marco Passaro/IPA/ABACAPRESS.COM

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people have been sharing memes applauding healthcare workers on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and other social media platforms.

One photo circulating in the Philippines shows dozens of masked doctors on board a flight home from Hubei province in China, where they’d reportedly been helping to contain the outbreak at its origin point. The photo was posted Tuesday by the Philippine Weather System/Pacific Storm Update account on Facebook.

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“Big salute!” the post said.

Dozens of healthcare workers are shown on a flight from China to the Philippines.
Dozens of healthcare workers are shown on a flight from China to the Philippines. Philippine Weather System/Pacific Storm Update

More than 4,000 people responded with their praise and applause.

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“Thank you so much to all the frontliners who helped and served,” one user wrote.

READ MORE: Flatten the curve: How one chart became a rallying cry against coronavirus

“Thank you all for your dedication and sacrifice,” another wrote. “You are truly heroes.”

Many social media users praised healthcare workers while invoking the words of Mr. Rogers, who once offered a bit of advice for responding to scary news situations.

“Look for the helpers,” he said. “You will always find people who are helping.”

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Tributes have also been pouring in for other front-line workers who are helping to keep society going amid the crisis, including grocery store staff, delivery drivers and police.

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Thousands of former nurses and doctors have already come forward in Canada and the U.S. to join the fight against the disease, amid concerns that it might overwhelm healthcare systems as it spreads.

“The need is there,” Ottawa nurse Nanda Bradshaw recently told Global News. “As long as I’m healthy and able to offer it, I will do it.”

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials say the risk is low for Canadians but warn this could change quickly. They caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the avirus to others.

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Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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With files from Reuters and Global News reporter Leslie Young