ATLANTA - As the clear day turned into dusk in Midtown Atlanta on Wednesday, the normally busy streets were mostly still, save for the sounds of the occasional footsteps hitting the sidewalk. “The city too busy to hate” seems to have turned into the “city that will just have to wait” as residents remain under a shelter-in-place order amid the threat of furthering the coronavirus pandemic.
An ever-shrinking list of essential workers are supposed to be venturing out on the once-bustling city streets and at the very top are health care workers, many of whom are now on the frontline in the fight against COVID-19. And while staffing schedules vary between each hospital, there’s a single minute each night that is now dedicated just to them. It happens as the clock strikes at 8 p.m.
Each night, for the past four nights, residents stuck in their apartments and homes have joined in a chilling unison to thank the medical workers in the most Atlanta way possible, by cheering for them.
“I saw something on (the) Nextdoor (app),” said Atlanta artist and sculptor Dorri Buchholtz, who lives high above the treetops in Midtown. “Someone posted that we should all go out on our balconies at 8 to support those serving.”
And so, it started, a joyous and thankful round of cheers and applause that echoes each evening from the canyon of the towering condos of Midtown, in hopes it will reach the men and women, possibly changing shifts, at Emory Midtown Hospital, Grady Memorial Hospital, Atlanta Medical Center, Piedmont Hospital, and maybe beyond.
“I live in the heart of it and went out and we all started cheering,” Buchholtz said.
And the standing ovation has continued to grow each night as Atlantans take to their balconies, front stoops, and even sidewalks to join in the choirs of praise.
“People heard the noise and also came out and it just kind of took a life of its own,” Buchholtz said.
As the coronavirus lockdown continues in the city, so too does the nightly tribute and it likely will only get bigger. Already, people have added new elements flashing lights and waving banners far above the streets of Atlanta.
And as the sun dims below the horizons, so too do the audible accolades. But this nightly phenomenon promises to be a new routine in these uncertain times.
Best prevention measures:
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least twenty seconds.
- If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
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