Good Stories During the Coronavirus
There is no shortage of bad things to discuss right now. It’s easy to lambast governments for their actions or inactions or to be indignant at people for not socially distancing properly or for panic buying or other acts of selfishness. We were already in an outrage cycle before the world fell apart.
If I move away from the internet, I see so much good and so much to be grateful for. I could find good stories even during the coronavirus lockdown. If this pandemic were happening pre-Zoom and Google Hangouts, pre-Internet, pre-Tiger King, it would be way worse. I’m grateful that this is all happening as the weather is getting warmer so people have the option to go outside and might even get more sunshine than normal. I’m excited for my friends who are new parents, who get to spend more time with their newborns while on lockdown. Really, it could have been much worse.
Finding the Good Everywhere
In my community, people are mobilizing to help vulnerable seniors run errands and to show their appreciation for first responders. I made an appointment to give blood and the wait, even with an appointment, was 2.5 hours – that’s how many people wanted to help out. I fostered a puppy during quarantine, and found out the waiting list to foster in the next round was nearly 100-people long. And people are starting to social distance meaning that Americans are willing to sacrifice economic growth in order to protect its most vulnerable citizens. Contrary to popular belief, we have our priorities straight.
It’s like that line in Love Actually:
When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.
And that’s true here. If you look for it, there are countless stories of love and positivity going around even during the pandemic. Here are about 100 good things to talk about during the coronavirus lockdown (divided into 21 categories).
- People Helping With a Cure
- Miraculous Recoveries
- Professionals Helping Fight the Virus
- Giving to First Responders
- Providing for Medical Professionals
- Companies Creating Medical Supplies
- Helping the Hungry
- Helping the Vulnerable
- Helping Small Businesses
- Companies Helping Their Communities
- Companies Helping Their Employees
- Entertainers Helping Their Support Staff
- Countries Helping Other Countries
- People Helping Other Countries
- Lockdown Drawing People Together
- Random Lockdown Benefits
- The Environment is Benefiting
- People Being Awesome
- Essential Workers Being Amazing
- The Future
- Possible Unexpected Benefits
These ordinary people aren’t on the front lines by virtue of career or expertise, but because they want to help. They are giving of themselves in a way that has little benefit to themselves and might actually be quite harmful, all in an effort to find a cure for COVID-19.
2. Miraculous Recoveries
We are doing all this quarantining and social distancing in order to help those that are most vulnerable. Fortunately, the very vulnerable are also working hard at getting better. Consider WWII veteran William Lapschie who celebrated his 104th birthday after making a recovery from COVID-19. Same with a 103-year old Chinese woman, a 100-year old Chinese man, a 95-year old Italian grandmother, and a 103-year old Iranian woman.
People from every country, industry, profession, and company are coming together to find a cure and help the sick.
The much-derided BigPharma is on the front lines to finding treatments and several companies have already committed to providing low-cost or free drugs if found. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have pledged billions to producing factories for the most promising efforts to find a vaccine. A positive side effect of the urgency of the current situation is that the scientific community is sharing data more openly than ever before.
Vaccine testing has begun in America. The FDA has approved a new test that is able to give results back in as little as 45 minutes. WHO launched a global megatrial of the four most promising coronavirus treatments. More than 140 experimental drug treatments and vaccines for the coronavirus are in development world-wide. The physician who is credited with the rubella vaccine is helping developing a COVID-19 virus.
Not neglecting the problems of isolation, 6,000 mental health professionals in New York City have signed up to volunteer at an emotional support hotline.
A police officer gave a doctor his face masks instead of a ticket. Communities in Vermont and Tennessee raised money to support janitors cleaning during the pandemic. A Seattle Times subscriber bought pizzas for hardworking journalists. Good samaritans in Detroit spent over $1,000 buying gas for nurses treating coronavirus patients.
Thousands of sewers (as in, people who sew, not the places that have sewage) are creating face masks.
Donatella Versace donated 200,000 euros to the San Raffaele hospital in Milan, Italy. Chiara Ferragni donated 100,000 euros to a GoFundMe campaign to aid hospitals in Italy.
A bride and groom donated unused meals from their cancelled wedding reception to medical professionals
BBC medical dramas and the sets of Grey’s Anatomy and other US medical shows donated protective equipment from their sets to doctors on the front lines. Construction firms have also taken up the call to donate N95 masks to hospitals.
Despite increased racism and xenophobia, Chinese communities are also helping medical professionals by donating masks they accumulated.
Additionally, here is a list of organizations feeding health workers and first responders across the country.
The University College London and Mercedes F1 created a breathing aid for Coronavirus patients which reduces the need for a ventilator.
Anheuser-Busch, Tito’s Vodka, distilleries, and Louis Vuitton (among other companies) have switched their factories to produce hand sanitizer. Yves Saint Laurent and Balenciaga are making surgical masks instead of luxury clothes.
3DAgainstCorona documents how 3D Printers are being used to cover shortages in components for face masks and ventilators.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Laurene Powell Jobs, Apple, and the Ford Foundation helped launch America’s Food Fund with $12 million to benefit World Central Kitchen and Feeding America.
There are countless stories of people, like this woman, this newspaper man, this student, and these NYC residents, who are buying groceries for those who can’t make it to the store. This student created a network of shoppers to help the vulnerable. Additionally, a number of stores have set aside senior shopping hours to protect the vulnerable.
With the elderly being the most vulnerable, assisted living homes are under lockdown and are not allowing any visitors. Of course, it can get pretty lonely so people are finding creative ways to visit without endangering their loved ones.
A group of young Rwandans have created radio plays in order to educate the populace about life-saving hygiene behavior, aiding the large population unable to read and/or unable to afford a TV.
In the UK, more than 700,000 people have signed up to volunteer to help with whatever coronavirus tasks may come up.
A mystery man bought all the flowers in a small floral shop before it was required to close due to the pandemic.
People are finding that small businesses are stepping up to provide products where Amazon couldn’t.
One of the largest commercial retailers in Detroit, Bedrock, is waiving rent for small businesses.
Bookshop supports independent bookstores. Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund from the WHO. Restaurant Worker’ Community Foundation supports restaurant workers. MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund helps those in the music industry hurt by the pandemic.
Restaurants across the country are providing free meals to those in need.
The New York Giants are funding a new program to provide childcare at no cost to first response personnel.
The New England Patriots used their plane to bring supplies to American hospitals. (This will be the first and last nice thing I ever say about the Pats).
Airbnb is providing emergency housing to frontline responders. Draper James is offering free dresses to teachers. The Honest Company is donating 3 millions diapers to those in need. UHaul is offering free storage for displaced college students.
Dierks Bentley gave each of the 90 employees of its bar Whiskey Row, $1,000 to help before they can get aid.
The National Restaurant Association started a Restaurant Workers’ Relief Fund giving $500 one-time checks to affected workers.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban made a commitment to pay all arena workers. Similarly
The Utah Jazz’s Rudy Gobert donated over $500,000 to support the employee relief fund at his arena and COVID-related social services. The Golden State Warriors ownership, players and coached, pledged $1 million to Chase Center employees impacted by the loss of NBA games.
New Orleans Pelican Zion Williamson plans to cover the salaries of all arena employees for the next 30 days. Cleveland Cavalier Kevin Love committed $100,000 to support area support staff. Detroit Piston Blake Griffin donated $100,000 to help the staff at his arena. Also many sports arenas are being converted into makeshift hospitals.
Bruno Mars is donating $1M to the MGM Resorts Foundation to support MGM employees impacted by the virus.
See more sports teams helping arena workers here.
Germany is taking in patients from neighboring Italy and France. Russia is sending supplies to the U.S. Cuba sent doctors to Italy to help. Now that China is doing better, it is sending supplies to countries who need them.
Justin Bieber pledged 200,000 RMB to the Beijing Chunmiao Charity foundation, a children’s charity in China to help with the coronavirus relief efforts.
African migrants are working to get food to Italian families under lockdown.
Teddy bear hunts are a way to keep kids entertained while social distancing. Kids making cards and writing letters to the quarantined. A quarantined firefighter getting a surprise visit. A New Jersey church sending care packages to coronavirus patients to let them know they’re not forgotten.
George R.R. Martin says he’s writing again now that he’s in lockdown.
This couple met during the lockdown – after he saw her dancing on her balcony.
Crime rates have plummeted as even criminals obey stay-at-home order (though domestic violence has risen).
Penguins have been taking field trips around the zoo.
Britain’s bird and bee populations are booming. The water in Venetian canals has become clearer due to lack of tourists. Carbon monoxide levels in New York City have been reduced 50% due to lack of car traffic. Spring smogs typically reach a peak value of 10 in the UK but have peaked at three in March of this year. Global carbon emissions have fallen.
More people, deterred by the risks of the grocery store, have taken to buying more food sourced locally.
A Connecticut man showing his love for his wife in a nursing homes in lockdown. An Alabama man visits his wife every day through a screen window in her nursing home. A husband released from quarantine surprised his wife on her 84th birthday. A reverend from Tennessee officiated a wedding from inside his nursing home.
The Front Porch Project has photographers taking family portraits with a zoom lens, with proceeds going to charity.
19. Essential Workers Being Amazing
A doctor moved his practice to a parking lot in order to test for COVID-19. Other first responders are moving far from home in order to fight the spread of the disease. Retired doctors are returning to the front lines.
The Freakonomics podcast posits that more companies will take a hard look at the possibility of teleworking for its employees. This could have huge implications for environmentalism and traffic. With this comes the possibility of more telemedicine. This cost-cutting measure is getting hugely popular during the pandemic and could also help alleviate some of the burdens on transit systems.
Solutions that others have thought impossible are swiftly being done during the pandemic. A few months ago, someone told me that giving every American $1,000 would be impossible. Halting evictions and foreclosures, collections on medical and student loan debt, electronic voting – all are suddenly possible whereas before they were unthinkable. Housing the homeless in governmental buildings – unthinkable before. I mean a month ago, we all thought that Americans wouldn’t agree to be on lockdown for months on end but here we are. We are adaptable.
Maybe the habit of handwashing will catch on and fewer people will get the flu. Maybe there will be more focus on obtaining sick pay for all workers. Maybe people will learn to reach out more often electronically and loneliness levels will decline. Maybe people will remember the garbage workers, grocery store workers, postmen, and other unsung heroes of the pandemic and treat them with more respect.
Yes there will be lots of negative fallout, but it’s also possible that something good can come out of it. I’ve listed a number of good things above.
Washington State and California are seeing tapering numbers of cases. New York City cases may be declining. Italy may have reached its peak – or at least it’s not increasing. South Korea reports more recovers than new cases.
Conclusion – Good Stories During Coronavirus Lockdown
Am I a pollyanna ignoring all the bad news? No, not at all. I have read A LOT OF BAD NEWS in the past few weeks. I could write a similarly long article about the bad effects of the coronavirus pandemic – and so could you. But there is always good to be found.
How We Continue Doing Good
Still, I know one huge negative in this disaster is the increase in racist attacks against Chinese people. I know I get called out for being racist against Chinese people or for ignoring racism against Chinese people a few times a year (for reference, I’m Chinese and I don’t think I’m racist). I’m aware that racist acts and aggression against Chinese people has increased. But I those acts are perpetrated by a small minority of people. I still continue to believe that most people are good.
I believe in Andrew Yang‘s message that we have to respond to bad with good. Of course, the first time I heard about Andrew Yang’s op-ed, someone posted it with anger. As in, anger that Yang implied that Asians should prove their dedication to this country and their goodwill. And of course Asian Americans don’t HAVE TO do that. But by and large, Asian-Americans are really good people, and there’s no reason to change that because of the actions of a few dozen people who have made racist comments or actions against Asians.
Because if we change how we (Asians) act toward hundreds of millions of non-Asians because of a few dozen bad apples of the same race, then we are the racists. And we will be the ones to suffer.
It’s counterintuitive but love is always the answer.