As cases of COVID-19 run rampant in our area, don’t forget the toll it’s taking on medical professionals.

Sure, we all live in the middle of a pandemic, so we all experience it to some degree. Readers, we are sure hundreds of you have been impacted by the virus, directly or indirectly.

These health care heroes live it every hour of every day. They can’t crack under pressure, either. They must put on the methaphorical shield — along with their abundance of PPE — and combat this virus head-on.

According to a recent MSN story, thousands of medical practices have closed during the pandemic. MSN cited a survey conducted by the Physicians Foundation, a non-profit group that polled 3,500 doctors. About 8% of the doctors reported closing their offices over the spring and summer.

Here, in our own back yard, a hospital closed at one of the worst times imaginable. Our Lady of Bellefonte didn’t shutter because of the pandemic, though — it was already planned. But it couldn’t stay open, either.

Doctors and nurses on the front lines were in focus throughout the initial portion of this pandemic. They were recognized for their dedication to helping mitigate the spread. Then, that spotlight found other people, and other things. The pandemic became more of a political issue rather than a public health issue. Sadly, the front-line workers were left in the dark when their world was already dark enough.

As MSN reported, many medical workers have elected to retire early or seek other professions — for a multitude of reasons. Perhaps they owned a private practice that could no longer stay afloat. Maybe they were concerned about their own health or their own family’s health, considering the constant exposure to patients. The sheer mental exhaustion and torture may have pushed them away from what was once their passion.

Here’s one of the main differences between pandemic-causing virus and a run-of-the-mill virus: Even if you don’t work in the medical field, you play a crucial role in fighting it. Take it seriously. And don’t forget the sacrifices made by these health care heroes.

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