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How Hard to be a Frontliner?

By: Rommel K Manwong

Area: Applied Criminology, Social Science, Health and Safety, Law Enforcement

Front liners are people on the ground like nurses, doctors, public safety personnel and soldiers at various checkpoints, health care workers, utility maintenance personnel, delivery-men and literally all those who are directly engaged in the front line to prevent the spread of COVID-19. They should be given due credit for their unwavering and tireless endeavors. Those who are manning the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine should also be equally recognized for their dedication in fighting the “invisible enemy”.

For me who merely observes while on home quarantine, it would be unrealistic on my part to generalize about how difficult to be a front liner. Nonetheless, by way of situational awareness analysis, there are certain aspects of consideration in order to point out the answer. The answer is reliant on some factors such as profile of front liners, the type of job functions they have, the location or venue of their engagements, environmental dynamics in the area, and the political complexities and influences, and so on.

Just recently, a friend of mine and a proud father of a lady doctor send me a message about her daughter’s sense of dedication and sacrifice for her job. He was very emotional and overly worried with his daughter upon knowing that she got a flu like symptom and the hospital where she was working went to temporary closure. Although she went on self-quarantine, and showing improvements of her condition, for the family, this is a very challenging time. In fact, he even mentioned that he was willing to be the victim in exchange for her daughter’s safety. From our conversation, he also expressly said that he and his family are very proud of all health workers and other front liners who are risking their lives by fighting for the lives of those who are enjoying the comfort and security of their homes especially for the poor and the powerless. To me, he disclosed a genuine and pure of love of family. His words are just a manifestation of love of country and people.

The lady doctor’s story is one of the many stories of courage, dedication, and service to mankind. Every day from the news, we also observe similar accounts of frontliners trying to give back to the community, even if it means being endangered, and without publicity by media reports. These are the good things that make us people truly proud and we can’t help much but to honor them and give respect.

Our front liners are in an occupation that poses great danger and hazard considering the nature of the problem - pandemic. Where priority is granted in favor of those with symptoms of contagion, most of them are still to undergo COVID-19 testing. Again, they deserve the honor and praise for trying hard to save lives and save the nation from a downfall.

But at the other side of the coin are notable sad realities experienced by our front liners. In various modes such as the dramatic threat to life considering the degree of exposure; the mental anguish, depression and anxiety of dealing with the sick and the dead; shortages of food and medical supplies due to slow delivery of assistance, and the lack cooperation and discipline by some of our citizenry.

Based on the situation dashboard, it shows an increasing trend of cases of persons under monitoring and under investigation since the declaration of an enhanced community quarantine. There is also a great number of losses of our frontliners such as doctors who succumb to the coronavirus. And there is slow motion of recoveries. Our health workers are diminishing one by one brought about by the protocol to undergo self-quarantine whenever exposure to the virus is detected. Our public safety personnel and soldiers in charge for our national security are getting exhausted. The public is getting bored and angry with the socioeconomic impact of the situation. The criminals and terrorists are taking advantage of the situation. And there are still some politicians who remain mum on the state of affairs.

So, how hard to be a front liner? The obvious answer is upon you. Help out by staying home and keep safe.

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