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Healthcare workers already bookmakers' favourite to be named Time's Person of the Year

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Medical workers put on protective gear in order to assist coronavirus patients at the intensive care unit of Vinogradov City Clinical Hospital in Moscow, Russia.
Medical workers put on protective gear in order to assist coronavirus patients at the intensive care unit of Vinogradov City Clinical Hospital in Moscow, Russia.   -   Copyright  AP/Pavel Golovkin
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First responders and healthcare workers are the favourites to be named this year's Time Person of the Year, according to bookmakers.

The odds of doctors, nurses, health workers and first responders being given the illustrious title have been slashed from 4/1 to evens, according to odds comparisons site Oddschecker.

Other medical-related selections are also faring well with the World Health Organisation (WHO) currently at 4/1 despite the repeated attacks on the agency by U.S. President Donald Trump.

Li Wenliang, the late Chinese doctor who raised the alarm on the COVID-19 pandemic, is currently 7/1, as are the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious diseases expert.

Healthcare workers have been gathering praise the world over for their tireless fight against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, with confined people taking time every evening in numerous countries to applaud them.

The virus, which first appeared in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the beginning of the year, has since spread to most corners of the world, killing more than 212,000 people and infecting over 3 million, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.

The pandemic, which has put healthcare systems the world over under extreme duress, has been particularly costly for healthcare workers.

At least 82 NHS staff and 16 social care workers have died from the virus in the UK; in France, 25 healthcare workers have so far lost their lives; in Italy, the most heavily-impacted country in Europe, 151 medical staff have succumbed to the disease.

"2020 has been the darkest year in living memory, but the selfless healthcare workers and first responders have represented a beacon of hope for humanity," Oddschecker spokesperson Callum Wilson said in a statement.

It wouldn't be the first time that medical personnel responding to an epidemic is recognised by the American magazine.

In 2014, the title was awarded to "Ebola Fighters" who responded to the outbreak of the disease in West Africa. Between 2014 and 2016, the virus killed more than 11,000 people.

Time names its Person of the Year in December. Last year's winner was the Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg.