In a difficult year filled with a decade’s worth of hardship and confusion, many people have stepped up to make a difference. The TIME100, an annual list of the most influential people in the world, recently recognized these courageous men and women, many of whom have been fighting the COVID-19 pandemic since its earliest days.
TIME CEO and editor in chief Edward Felsenthal explained his thoughts on the 2020 list. “This year’s list looks far different than any of us could have predicted just six months ago. The TIME 100 has always been a mirror of the world and those who shape it. While you will certainly find people who wield traditional power on this year’s list—heads of state, CEOs, major entertainers—it also includes many extraordinary, lesser-known individuals who seized the moment to save lives, build a movement, lift the spirit, repair the world… Their work challenges each of us to wield our own influence toward a world that is healthier, more resilient, more sustainable, and just.”
For New Yorkers, this year’s list holds one especially inspiring name: Amy O’Sullivan, a Brooklyn ER nurse.
Amy O’Sullivan Named to Represent “Army of Health Care Workers”
There’s no doubt that doctors, nurses, and medical staff in every hospital and city around the country have earned the title of brave and influential for their efforts battling the coronavirus and saving countless lives.
TIME100 named Amy O’Sullivan to the list to represent that “army of health care workers” on the frontline of the pandemic, especially given O’Sullivan’s unique story. She treated the first COVID-19 patient at Wyckoff hospital in Brooklyn. That patient ultimately became the city’s first COVID death in early March, before the importance of PPE was fully understood.
As a result, O’Sullivan became infected with the coronavirus and began displaying symptoms a few days later. Her case became severe, and she was intubated and spent four days on a ventilator. Yet O’Sullivan rested at home for less than two weeks before returning to work to continue helping other COVID-19 patients.
Katie Couric emphasized the sacrifices made by O’Sullivan and millions of healthcare workers worldwide since march. “Many moved into hotels, spare bedrooms, even garages at the height of the pandemic to protect their families. From doctors to janitors, the entire ecosystem that keeps a hospital functioning became a new kind of ground zero, their exhausted eyes conveying competence and compassion,” Couric wrote to honor O’Sullivan’s place in the TIME100.