The COVID-19 pandemic has become one of the biggest threats to global health and economy in modern history. The novel coronavirus has infected 2.5 million people worldwide and claimed 1,77,612 lives as of Wednesday, April 22. Doctors, nurses, police officers, politicians and other professionals are fighting the disease heads on. Fortune magazine has just published its 2020 ranking of the World’s Greatest Leaders and it has dedicated the ranking to heroes of the coronavirus pandemic. Let’s take a look at the ten greatest heroes of the coronavirus pandemic.
Thousands of people from all over the world have shown immense courage and compassion. Individuals and corporations have donated billions of dollars to feed the poor and provide essential medical supplies to healthcare workers. There are people who have rallied the world behind them in these testing times.
10- Bill Gates
Bill Gates is one of the greatest philanthropists of all time. He warned back in 2015 that the world was not prepared to deal with a pandemic. He didn’t just talk about it. Gates started funding the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) in 2017.
Currently, CEPI has eight vaccine candidates for COVID-19 in development. Gates has also donated $250 million to help vaccine development efforts and public health authorities in Africa and Asia. More importantly, Bill Gates said on The Daily Show that he was prepared to spend billions of dollars, if needed, to develop and produce vaccine.
All the above, has not stopped Gates from being the subject of many COVID-19 conspiracy theories.
9- Mary Barra
In March, General Motors and its CEO Mary Barra were heavily criticized by President Trump for their response to producing ventilators. Barra stood fast amid the criticism. General Motors was the first automaker in the US to commit its assembly lines to make ventilators. Earlier this month, General Motors won a $489 million contract to produce 30,000 ventilators for the US Department of Health and Human Services.
8- George Yancopoulos
George Yancopoulos has emerged as one of the greatest heroes of the coronavirus pandemic. He is the co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. Regeneron’s arthritis drug Kevzara is currently being tested for the treatment of COVID-19. Yancopoulos has also been developing an antibody cocktail to treat the novel coronavirus.
7- Jose Andres
Chef Jose Andres owns several restaurants across the United States and is one of the finest chefs in North America. He also runs a non-profit called World Central Kitchen (WCK) to feed the poor. The WCK is serving more than 100,000 meals a day to healthcare workers and those affected by the crisis. Andres has turned the entire Washington Nationals’ baseball stadium into a community kitchen to feed the hungry.
6- Rachael Bedard
Rachael Bedard is a geriatrician serving “the oldest and sickest in New York City’s correctional system.” She has brought the mass attention to her incarcerated patients. Bedard has also called for a mass release of detainees, says Fortune. Jails are the ‘perfect setup’ for a deadly pandemic such as the novel coronavirus.
5- Anthony Fauci
79-year-old Anthony Fauci has been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984. He has shaped America’s response to outbreaks like Zika and AIDS. After the Trump Administration’s inaction in the early stage of the COVID-19 outbreak, Fauci has gone the extra mile to speak the truth, assuage the public, and prompt White House to course-correct. Fauci even risked being fired for doing what needs to be done.
4- The Governors
The fourth greatest heroes of the coronavirus pandemic are the Governors of various states. Washington Governor Jay Inslee had to figure out how to fight the COVID-19 pandemic as the virus hit Washington first. Mike DeWine of Ohio has refused to budge on his stay-at-home order despite immense pressure from his own political party and from protesters.
3- Jack Ma
The founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has been helping healthcare workers worldwide, including in the US. Ma has donated 18 million face masks, 3 million testing kits, and thousands of ventilators to dozens of countries including the US. He also facilitated the shipment of 1,000 ventilators to New York State.
2- Chris Gregoire
Christine Gregoire is the former Governor of Washington state. She brought Seattle’s business community – including fierce corporate rivals – together to help fight the outbreak in the city. She focused on a science-based approach to act early to contain the pandemic.
1- Li Wenliang
Chinese physician Li Wenliang has been named the greatest hero of the coronavirus pandemic. The late Ophthalmologist at the Wuhan Central Hospital in China was among the first to sound alarm about a new deadly virus in Wuhan in December 2019. Unfortunately, he was arrested by the local authorities and forced to recant his statement. Upon release, he started treating patients and got infected by the same virus he had warned about. He succumbed to COVID-19 on February 07. The Chinese government’s refusal to listen to Wenliang has cost the world tens of thousands of lives.