With coronavirus placing immense pressure on health care workers, residents around the world are paying their respects

There are rare moments where people around the world seem to band together, and the fight against coronavirus has proven to be one such time.

Doctors, nurses and other health care workers everywhere have been struggling to provide help for the hundreds of thousands of people sickened by the virus, which attacks the respiratory system and can cause death. Many countries of Europe and Asia have been struggling to contain the virus over recent weeks, and cases of the disease have increased in the United States despite efforts to slow its spread through statewide lockdowns.

Because the virus is so highly contagious, health care professionals are risking their own lives by treating patients — and many have already gotten sick or have died.

But the bravery of these thousands of health care workers who are putting themselves on the frontlines against coronavirus has not been ignored, and millions of people have been showing their appreciation for their efforts.

For nearly two weeks, residents around Europe have stood outside their balconies and doorsteps to applaud and cheer in solidarity for doctors and nurses everywhere.

In Spain, reports show internet usage in the country has plummeted at 8 p.m., right when people sign off to participate in the round of applause. As of Thursday evening, Spain has seen more than 56,197 cases and 4,145 deaths attributed to coronavirus, according to The New York Times.

Health care workers applaud outside of a hospital

But this same show of appreciation has been on display in countries everywhere, with people taking to social media to show their appreciation.

A #ClapBecauseWeCare initiative is now being planned for New York, and residents are being asked to show their gratitude for doctors, nurses, health care workers, grocery store workers, restaurant workers, truck drivers, sanitation workers and everyone else putting themselves in danger to keep the country running.

The two-minute event will take place at 7 p.m. EST on March 27, and people can show their appreciation by cheering and clapping from their front doors, stoops, windows, balconies or where they feel safe.

The gesture may help to give these workers a much-needed boost of confidence and motivation, on the heels of the grim news that the United States has just surpassed China and Italy for most confirmed cases of coronavirus.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.