Hannah Downing, 26

As the battle against coronavirus rages on, frontline workers like Hannah Downing, are bearing the brunt of the pandemic.

Working as a paramedic with the New Zealand National Ambulance Service, Downing responds to emergencies, treats and stabilizes patients and transports them to hospital. But with Auckland and the rest of the country in complete lockdown and people’s fear of the virus at an all-time high, her job has seen some changes.

“Coronavirus has impacted my job as we have found an increased number of jobs we attend with people thinking they have the virus or have an increased number of anxiety-related jobs associated with the virus,” she said. 

Also, extra time is being spent on callouts where a patient has suspected COVID-19 symptoms, because medical workers have to have to put on personal protective equipment, also known as PPEs. Additionally, she has seen a rise in the number of people not wanting to be taken to a hospital.

“Particularly elderly who need to go to the hospital don’t want to which puts them at risk for becoming more unwell,” she said. 

Working in a country that has been praised for its quick response to the virus, Downing is feeling hopeful as the number of cases in the country continues to fall.

“It shows in the statistics that as a nation we are heading in the right direction,” she said.

Despite her job putting her in the line of fire, Downing is remaining positive and is happy to be serving her community.

“I am grateful that I am able to help people in need during this time,” she said.

Originally from Auckland, New Zealand, Imogen Francis now studies journalism at Florida International University. She was a staff news writer at the student newspaper PantherNow and has experience writing about the LGBTQ community, women's rights and politics.