Having treated her hospital's first COVID-19 patient O'Sullivan spent days on a ventilator having succumbed to the virus herself, before long she was back fighting on the frontline.
Amy O'Sullivan, an 18-year Emergency Room veteran, has been named among the TIME100, an annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. The issue has eight worldwide covers, each highlighting a member of the TIME100: immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci, performer The Weeknd, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, COVID-19 frontline nurse Amy O'Sullivan, actor Gabrielle Union, and athlete Dwyane Wade, performer Megan Thee Stallion, President of Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen, and Black Lives Matter founders Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi.
O'Sullivan was named on the list to represent the "army of health care workers" battling on the frontline against the coronavirus pandemic.
In TIME, Katie Couric wrote of the Wyckoff hospital, Brooklyn, nurse "She treated the first COVID-19 patient at the hospital, who became the city’s first death in early March before the importance of PPE was truly understood. Amy began displaying symptoms a few days later. After she was intubated and spent four days on a ventilator, she went home to rest for less than two weeks before returning to work.
"Amy is just one of the millions of health care workers worldwide who risked everything to serve others. Many moved into hotels, spare bedrooms, even garages at the height of the pandemic to protect their families. From doctors to janitors, the entire ecosystem that keeps a hospital functioning became a new kind of ground zero, their exhausted eyes conveying competence and compassion. There are two simple words for their heroism: Thank you."
The TIME100 often includes surprising pairings of the list members and the guest contributors TIME selects to write about them. The seventeenth annual list includes Denzel Washington on Michael B. Jordan, Derek Jeter on Patrick Mahomes, Common on Angela Davis, Ted Cruz on Tsai Ing-wen, Oprah Winfrey on Tyler Perry, Taylor Swift on Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Elizabeth Warren on Ady Barkan, Stevie Wonder on Yo-Yo Ma, Maya Moore on Naomi Osaka, Leonardo DiCaprio on Nemonte Nenquimo, Cyndi Lauper on Billy Porter, Deepika Padukone on Ayushmann Khurrana, Lena Waithe on Michaela Coel, Ayanna Pressley on Kamala Harris, Tilda Swinton on Bong Joon Ho, Kim Kardashian West on JoJo Siwa, Melinda Gates on MacKenzie Scott, Ronan Farrow on Julie K. Brown, Timothy Geithner on Jerome Powell, Jennifer Garner on Greg Berlanti and many more.
In addition to these eight covers, the issue will also feature a new cover and a special tribute commemorating Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was featured on the TIME100 list in 2015.
As the world went on lockdown, an army of healthcare workers went to battle COVID-19—including Amy O'Sullivan. The nurse spent days on a ventilator after treating her hospital's first COVID-19 patient. But soon, she was back on the front lines #TIME100 https://t.co/ExxGcEjakD— TIME (@TIME) September 23, 2020
Of the 2020 TIME100 list, TIME CEO and editor in chief Edward Felsenthal writes "This year's list looks far different than any of us could have predicted just six months ago. The TIME 100 has always been a mirror of the world and those who shape it. While you will certainly find people who wield traditional power on this year's list—heads of state, CEOs, major entertainers—it also includes many extraordinary, lesser-known individuals who seized the moment to save lives, build a movement, lift the spirit, repair the world... Their work challenges each of us to wield our own influence toward a world that is healthier, more resilient, more sustainable, and just."
Of this year's list, Felsenthal continues, "As a rule, the TIME 100 focuses on the living, but looming large over this year's list is the impact of individuals such as Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Tony McDade, whose killings galvanized a reckoning around police brutality and systemic racism; Aimee Stephens, whose case led to a historic Supreme Court decision protecting the rights of LGBTQ Americans; and Li Wenliang, the Wuhan physician who tried in vain to warn Chinese officials about the coronavirus and later died of it. The issue also includes a memorial to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, including the tribute that fellow Justice Antonin Scalia wrote when she was on the TIME 100 in 2015."