Giraffe Heroes of the Pandemic

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Luis Garcia

Retired firefighter and Giraffe Hero Luis Garcia was commended for using his entire pension to buy and distribute the antidote for opioid overdoses. In this shutdown, he's set up curbside delivery of pandemic supplies—hand-cleaner, masks, gloves, and wipes—in front of his house. His Florida neighbors pull up and he hands them the protection they need, no questions, no charge. Read his story at


When it was clear that the pandemic would soon reach Sierra Leone, attorney Rashid Dumbuya began pressing a reluctant government to prepare. Long a thorn in that government's side for his championing of civil liberties, Dumbuya now leads a team that is ranging across the nation, demanding respectful, non-violent treatment of citizens, while informing those citizens about the virus and what they need to do to survive. More

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Xu Zhangrun

Law professor Xu Zhangrun has long been outspoken about oppression in China. When he published a denouncement of that government's handling of the pandemic, it was a step too far for the authorities. "Viral Alarm; When Fury Overcomes Fear" was read all over China, and Professor Xu has disappeared from social media. Friends have been unable to reach him, and are assuming that his "speech crime" has put him under house arrest. More

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Helen Chu

Dr. Helen Chu, an infectious disease expert at the University of Washington, knew she and her team should use her on-going flu study to test for the coronavirus, but she was repeatedly ordered not to by bureaucrats citing “rules." She repeatedly defied those orders, directing her team to keep testing—an unprecedented pandemic needs to be stopped, never mind the rules. More


Nellie Bell

Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Sierra Leone, Dr. Nellie Bell worked tirelessly as the head of Ola During Children's Hospital in Freetown. On April 2, 2020, Dr. Bell tested positive for the virus. Several weeks after that, she recovered and now is back on the front lines. Her boldness in isolating herself when she got infected and her clarion call for others to take required precautions saved lives, and her continuing efforts will save even more. Read her story here

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Chris Smalls

For years, Chris Smalls has been one of the people who prepare Amazon packages that appear on millions of doorsteps. Then he organized a legal walkout of employees at the Staten Island fulfillment center after management ignored the new need for sanitary working conditions in the pandemic. Two hours later, he was fired. The US National Labor Relations Board is investigating. More

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Kiran Martin

Kiran Martin, a pediatrician, is a Giraffe Hero for focusing her work on the poor of Delhi despite overwhelming obstacles. Now, as India has gone into pandemic lockdown, there are millions of day workers without income for food or shelter. For them, physical distancing and adequate sanitation are impossible. Dr. Martin and her teams of “Corona Warriors” are everywhere, providing funds, food, and medicines. Read her story at

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Sushil Koiirala

Longtime Giraffe Hero Sushil Koirala MD has once again stepped forward, now speaking out as the pandemic approaches his country, Nepal. He was at the fore when a huge earthquake devastated Nepal. Now he’s challenging his government’s preparations for the spread of the virus, calling them inadequate and calling for stronger preparations. More

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Ming Lin

Dr. Ming Lin reported to his supervisors and then to the public that the hospital where he’s worked in Bellingham WA for 17 years was failing to process Covid-19 tests promptly, to screen incoming patients accurately, and to use adequate safety equipment for patients and staff. When he refused to take down his messages to the public, his employers told him not to report for his next shift in the ER, though there are laws against firing doctors in such situations. More