2nd Prize Singles, Portraits

19 May 2020

Iván Macías, Mexico

COVID-19 First Responder

A doctor stands at the end of her shift, the marks left by a protective mask and goggles clearly visible on her face, in Mexico City, Mexico, on 19 May.

Healthcare workers worldwide were at the forefront of the battle against COVID-19. Of 37 countries surveyed by Forbes in November 2020, Mexico reported 78,200 COVID infections among healthcare workers—the highest per capita rate in the world. President López Obrador initially played down the severity of the threat from COVID, allowing large public gatherings and preparations for the tourist season to continue. Once cases started to climb, in late March, a lockdown went into effect, but by April the president declared the disease under control. On 13 May, less than 24 hours after the country had reported its deadliest day during the pandemic, with 353 deaths recorded, he announced an easing of lockdown measures. Exhausted healthcare workers became increasingly critical of policies that did not enforce stricter anti-COVID regulations.

This image shows the people who save our lives. The doctor poses for the photograph, but she is not with the photographer. Her mind is in another world; she is with somebody else, probably thinking about a patient in the ward, or about her family, who she hasn't seen for quite a while.

Andrei Polikanov, General Jury member

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