"I hope that these nurses get shown the same love by all of us that they give every day," Chris Cuomo said
Chris Cuomo
Chris Cuomo
| Credit: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

Chris Cuomo is paying tribute to the courageous healthcare heroes on the frontlines of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

In the closing moments of Wednesday's Cuomo Prime Time, the CNN host — himself on the other side of his battle with COVID-19 — gave a passionate, nearly 6-minute speech about frontline workers in honor of National Nurses Day, stressing that nurses "deserve" recognition "now more than ever" for putting their lives on the line every day.

"As Churchill said during World War II, 'Never have so many relied on the efforts of so few,' " said Cuomo, noting that there are currently 3 million registered nurses in the U.S., the highest percentage of healthcare workers.

"You've seen the images of them working overtime in crowded hospitals," he said. "You've heard the emotional stories: Nurses giving dying patients their cell phones so they can say goodbye to their loved ones."

"Thousands have come here to New York City volunteering to help fight this. Thousands of nurses have also paid the price for their efforts, contracting the virus themselves. The CDC says 10 to 20 percent of the infected are health care workers. Many have fallen," Cuomo continued, sharing memories of three nurses who died in the wake of the virus. "The list of victims is far too long to name every single one, but you should keep them in your heart. Because despite these dangers, heroic nurses put smiles on their faces and uplift patients and one another."

The news anchor went on stress the importance of staying at home amid the pandemic — which, as of Thursday morning, has infected more than 1,235,200 people in the U.S. and killed at least 73,500 people, according to a New York Times database.

"Today all over the country, there have been celebrations in their honor, with applause, signs, and messages of support on social media from everyone, including celebrities, politicians, sports teams. But here's the thing, if you ask them, 'What can we do for you? What can we get you? What do you need?' To a person, no matter where they work across this country, they say the same thing to me: 'Stay home. Please do what you can to keep cases down,' " Cuomo said.

"So my question is, 'How many of us who say we love them don't really show that love?' " he asked. "My message to for all of you on this day is show the love, and do what you can to keep cases down. Your choice isn't just about you. You know now that it affects others, including maybe them."

Chris Cuomo
Chris Cuomo
| Credit: Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images

Cuomo — whose wife Cristina and 14-year-old son Mario also tested positive for the virus in April — proposed other ways our government could show nurses respect, citing their need for more personal protective equipment and suggesting we should pass a proposed bill that would forgive their student debt.

"These health care workers, especially nurses for today, they deserve more than applause," Cuomo said. "They deserve that we give our best efforts; that we use our head to craft great policy; that we don't cave to political considerations."

"We know the need is great. The need is great for them, too. They're watching people die on a daily basis from a disease we don't even understand," he continued. "Don't they deserve ... that we do smart things that show that we value people's lives enough to make moves that will ensure they have a chance to live those lives?"

Cuomo concluded, "I hope that these nurses get shown the same love by all of us that they give every day."

Cuomo Prime Time airs weeknights (9 p.m. ET) on CNN.

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