This year the honor goes to “The Ebola Fighters.”
“2014 is the year an outbreak turned into an epidemic,” TIME Editor Nancy Gibbs said. “Ebola is a war, and a warning.”
“The global health system is nowhere close to strong enough to keep us safe from infectious disease, and ‘us’ means everyone, not just those in faraway places where this is one threat among many that claim lives every day,” Gibbs added. “The rest of the world can sleep at night because a group of men and women are willing to stand and fight. For tireless acts of courage and mercy, for buying the world time to boost its defenses, for risking, for persisting, for sacrificing and saving, the Ebola fighters are Time’s 2014 Person of the Year.”
The issue features five covers, each with an Ebola Fighter who has worked on the ground in West Africa, where the outbreak has infected more than 17,800 people — most in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Of those, around 6,300 have died.
“Perhaps the most recognizable figure on our cover this year is Dr. Kent Brantly, who is a missionary who worked in Africa. People may remember that he contracted the virus, was flown back to Atlanta and recovered,” assistant managing editor Sam Jacobs told 1010 WINS. “But the people that we’re trying to honor this year are largely anonymous doctors, health care workers, ambulance drivers — people who really looked into the fire and ran into it.”
Pop artist Taylor Swift made plenty of headlines this year. Her fifth studio album “1989” sold more than 1 million copies, she was named New York City’s Global Welcome Ambassador, and she pulled all of her music from streaming service Spotify. She was one of the contenders for the TIME honor, but didn’t make the cut for 2014’2 top five movers and shakers.
“We tried to pinpoint her in history in this year and show the extent of her influence and power and someone who we admire and respect, but when seen in this group of people from the Ferguson protesters to the Ebola fighters to Vladimir Putin, it’s hard to feel bad that this is the mix of people and ideas that have really shaped the world this year,” Jacobs said.
The issue hits newsstands Friday.
For more information, visit TIME.com.
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