“We heard you”: Hospital workers in Spain show thanks for public applause during coronavirus crisis

Health centers and doctors have expressed their appreciation for the noisy scenes of gratitude that were organized to pay tribute to everyone working while the country is in lockdown

Health workers at a hospital in Seville applaud outside the emergency ward.
Health workers at a hospital in Seville applaud outside the emergency ward.Eduardo Briones (Europa Press)

On Friday, March 13, a call went out on social media asking for all Spaniards, confined to their homes by the state of alarm, to come to their windows and show their thanks, with caceroladas – when people bang pots and pans – and applause, to the health staff working tirelessly to combat the coronavirus outbreak.

On Saturday, the tribute, which was inspired by similar scenes in Italy, was altered to include personnel working in overwhelmed supermarkets, the transport system, social services and other staff who are working despite the restrictions on movement.

The event was a great success. At 10pm on Saturday, streets across the country erupted into applause, as seen in the many videos that were shared on social media with the hashtags #aplausosanitario (health workers applause) and #aplausosolidario (solidarity applause).

That Saturday night, the Spanish Nursing Association shared a video on Twitter of a group of health workers returning the applause to residents living opposite a hospital. The tweet read: “And we also return the applause. Thank you so much for your recognition.” By Monday, March 16, almost 300,000 people had seen the original video.

And we also return the applause. Thank you so much for your recognition. With your responsibility, we will defeat the coronavirus.

On Sunday morning, the Twitter account for the Menorca Healthcare Area shared a video of emergency workers from the Mateu Orfila Hospital holding up signs with the message: “We have heard you / applauding from the balconies / and it has been very moving / we’re in this together / and we are ready to give everything / Will you help us? / Stay at home / This applause is for you.” The video ended with the staff clapping.

This applause is for you. From the emergency team at the Mateu Orfila Hospital.

Emergency workers at the A Coruña University Hospital shared the same message on a video on Twitter.

We have heard you... Thank you so much. Stay at home!

And in Andalusia, staff at the Infanta Elena Hospital in Huelva repeated the initiative, this time with the message: “Stay at home so that you can leave soon / If no one goes out, we will achieve it / When I am not working, I also stay at home / I stay working for you / Together we can do it. Stay at home! / Help us to help you by staying at home / This applause is for you for helping us.”

The video was recorded to the song Vivir (or, Living) by Rozalén, a Spanish singer who has promoted many activities to keep people entertained while they are confined to their houses during the lockdown.

Thank you for trusting in us, for recognizing our efforts and for helping us take care of your. The staff at the ICU ward of the Infanta Elena Hospital in Huelva that are on duty wanted to thank you for your help with an applause.

Many health workers also sent personal thank you messages that have made a big impact on social media. Esther Fraile, for instance, posted on Twitter: “Finishing work, thinking that I will have to return in less than 12 hours… and suddenly, I begin to hear cheers and applause... It moved me and I shed a few tears … but what an amazing feeling! Yes, another morning on duty, but it’s a pleasure. It’s for you because you are amazing!” The message received more than 114,000 likes and was retweeted nearly 20,000 times.

The Twitter user @DiegoBenavent, a doctor at the La Paz Hospital in Madrid, received more than 3,000 likes for his message of thanks.

This applause has given me energy to face another 24 hours on call tomorrow. Thank you for your support, together we can fight against Covid-19.

And @Dr_Luis said he had saved the videos of people applauding to lift his spirits in difficult moments.

I have decided that I have no words to describe what I felt listening to the applause from my balcony. I have saved the video of the applause, as well as those shared on WhatsApp groups, and they will be my driving force in difficult times. Thanks for the love.

On Sunday, people across Spain again applauded from their balconies and windows, but this time at 8pm so that children could join in, according to the messages on social media and messaging service WhatsApp. The show of thanks is set to continue every night at 8pm.

English version by Nell Snow.

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