Over the past couple of weeks, life has come to a standstill as the world tries to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. My therapist recently told me I should spend more time reading positive world news instead of drowning in panic by following only the dramatic developments of virus. I know there’s a lot of empty shelves in stores and people fighting over toilet paper. But in the midst of all that savagery, there are good people doing good things. I think we could all use some positive news, so I’m sharing what I’ve found to make you feel a little less anxious and a little more uplifted by the kindness that’s emerging during this difficult time for everyone.
For instance, when restaurants and cafes in Prague were forced to shutter for 10 days, some businesses took the opportunity to turn that into a helpful act by donating the food to charities that would otherwise go to waste.
Meanwhile gin distilleries around the US are putting their equipment to good use by producing hand sanitizer to distribute to local businesses.
Living abroad without knowing the language is hard enough, never mind during a global pandemic. Luckily, some awesome international medical students have stepped in to handle calls in many languages at the coronavirus crisis hotline.
School closures have posed a challenge for low-income children who have no other way to get three meals a day. Which is why Florida is working to continue serving breakfast and lunches to kids in Florida counties while schools are closed.
Communities have also come together to set up food and supply delivery for the sick and the elderly so they don’t have to leave their homes. In Wales and in Boston.
Germany is using the hashtag #Nachbarschaftschallenge (neighborhood challenge) to encourage people to help their sick or elderly neighbors by picking up their medications and groceries. Schoolchildren are doing the same thing in Austria.
Volunteers in Ireland are also taking to social media to help their neighbors, offering shopping assistance to those isolated using the hashtag #selfisolationhelp.
The people who can donate more than just their time have put their money where their mouth is. Like NBA players paying arena employees while no games are being played.
Or the Chinese billionaire who sent 500,000 testing kits and 1 million masks to the United States.
China has also sent 3 tons of medical supplies including respirators and medical experts to Italy to try to stop their outbreak.
The Chinese have a lot to celebrate. Their incredible overworked doctors and medical staff just closed the last temporary hospital in Wuhan. If nothing else gives you hope that we can all get through this, you can breathe easy knowing that China bounced back from 80,000 cases.
Chinese medical workers who have been fighting the #coronavirus day and night in Wuhan celebrated the closing of the last temporary hospital in Wuhan.
The reported #covid19 cases went from a surge in February of 15,000 in one day to only 15 this week. pic.twitter.com/xWuPd23EfY
— redfish (@redfishstream) March 13, 2020
For those of us still in the thick of things, solidarity and a sense of humor can go a long way in these times of physical isolation. That’s why people in Italy and Spain are cheering and applauding their medical professionals from their windows.
From a friend in Spain: “So, there was a call on social media today in Spain to go out to balconies and windows at 22:00 to give a huge ovation to thank and support hospital workers. It’s 22:05 and I can hear the roar from the other side of the closed double glass windows.” pic.twitter.com/PkODSOyVue
— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) March 14, 2020
Others stuck inside have found a way to pass the time by singing and playing music together from their balconies.
A whole neighborhood in Italy is singing “Roar” by Katy Perry while they’re on lockdown and self-quarantined. #COVIDー19 pic.twitter.com/QCehrWHWg5
— suddenlyistan (@suddenlyistan_) March 14, 2020
It’s easy to focus on all the empty shelves and institutional incompetence in times of strife. But if you look a little harder, you can always find people willing to help. All it takes is the desire to be kind and a little initiative. Be one of the helpers, and not one of the hoarders.