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Coronavirus relief: Photo of health care workers on Southwest flight goes viral

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The skies aren’t looking gray with help on the way.

A spirited image of health care professionals, flight crew and passengers on a recent Southwest Airlines flight from Georgia, to help with the coronavirus outbreak in New York, has gone viral on social media.

On March 27, a group of medical professionals traveled from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to LaGuardia Airport to pitch in on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic, a spokesperson for Southwest told Fox News. Just before takeoff, an airline employee snapped a shot of the travelers – some wearing face masks and gloves – throwing up their hands in the shape of a heart from their seats on the plane.

A spirited image of health care professionals, flight crew and passengers on a recent Southwest Airlines flight from Georgia, to help with the coronavirus outbreak in New York, has gone viral on social media.

A spirited image of health care professionals, flight crew and passengers on a recent Southwest Airlines flight from Georgia, to help with the coronavirus outbreak in New York, has gone viral on social media. (Southwest Airlines)

HOW DID THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK START?

The Southwest spokesperson described the trip as a regularly scheduled revenue flight, not a special flight for health care workers.

The Friday flight transported about 30 health care professionals from Atlanta-area hospitals, the Associated Press reports. All were in “good spirits” on their way to help those in need in the Empire State, the carrier said.

New York is currently the American epicenter of coronavirus, with over 67,000 cases reported to date.

On March 27, a group of medical professionals traveled from Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport to LaGuardia Airport to pitch in on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic, a spokesperson for Southwest told Fox News.

On March 27, a group of medical professionals traveled from Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport to LaGuardia Airport to pitch in on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic, a spokesperson for Southwest told Fox News. (iStock)

“This photo embodies it all: bravery, courage, and sacrifice. If it were easy, everyone would do it, but we know that is not the case,” Southwest captioned the now-viral photo on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, where it has since received thousands of likes across the platforms.

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Health care workers, other passengers and flight crew aboard a Southwest flight from Atlanta to New York's LaGuardia Airport holding their hands in the shape of a heart before takeoff in Atlanta. (Dayartra Etheridge via AP)

Health care workers, other passengers and flight crew aboard a Southwest flight from Atlanta to New York's LaGuardia Airport holding their hands in the shape of a heart before takeoff in Atlanta. (Dayartra Etheridge via AP)

“Thankfully, this group and countless others do it each day, and for that we are forever grateful and in their debt. So to all the first responders, medical professionals, healthcare workers, and anyone else on the front lines today and every day to keep us safe, thank you.”

In related headlines, during the ongoing outbreak, Delta Air Lines and JetBlue are offering free flights for medical professionals to travel to the front lines where they’re needed most.

Both carriers have proposed the pitch to eligible medical professionals in the national fight against the viral disease. Delta is coordinating round-trip flights, free of charge, for qualified personnel to travel to Georgia, Louisiana and Michigan, while JetBlue is sending health care workers and desperately needed supplies to “places where they are needed most.”

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According to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, JetBlue is sending medical volunteers to New York.

Fox News’ David Aaro and the Associated Press contributed to this report.