To say that the last few weeks and months have been heavy would be an understatement. The world has been living through unprecedented times and us humans have been trying to do our best to deal with the new world order (minus those toilet paper hoarders).
So, in an attempt to search for a little lightness in a lot of darkness, we’ve rounded up some of the recent highlights of the current crisis. These little gestures and movements are enough to perk us up and keep us going for a little longer.
Memes, memes and more memes
We can always rely on the Internet to provide some comic relief when times get tough. And, it hasn’t disappointed.
The sheer number of memes and coronavirus-related content being created at the moment is staggering, but we’re totally here for it. And while enjoying this content in no way undermines the tragedy and reality of our current situation, it does help provide some lightness.
According to clinical psychotherapist, Natasja Wagner, the use of jokes and memes can help during a time of crisis.
“Humour is a character strength that can contribute to our overall life satisfaction and resilience,” Wagner said in an interview with TheLatch—.
“Research also indicates humour is a positive character strength that may also be a predictor of better recovery when it comes to treating trauma, depression or negative attitudes.”
While Instagram can have its flaws, its ability to connect people is undeniable. A hashtag is a great example of how something so simple can provide a sense of community for users. Broadcaster and dinner club creator Laura Jackson has encouraged her followers to #MakeAMealOfIt to make mealtime special, even if we are just simply eating dinner at home.
Setting your table, lighting candles and cooking a nice dinner with what’s in your fridge might seem so simple, but it’s the little luxuries that are most important at the moment. And, while going out to bars and restaurants is temporarily off the menu, creating similar vibes up at home will (hopefully) keep your spirits up a little bit.
Wuhan takes a breath
Parts of the country where the COVID-19 pandemic originated are slowly returning to normal life, which makes us feel like there is indeed light at the end of this very long tunnel.
Hubei province recently announced that it will start to lessen current restrictions on outgoing travellers as of today, March 25. The provincial capital Wuhan, where the virus was first detected, has been in lockdown since January 23, but will also see its travel restrictions lifted on April 8, as reported by the ABC.
There also haven’t been any new infections in Hubei for more than a week! In light of this news, Wuhan residents will soon be able to leave the city with a health tracking QR code that details the person’s health status.
While the box office takings are minimal, State media China Global Television Network (CGTN) reported that 486 cinemas were open for business as of Friday, March 20 and on Monday, March 23 — the number had risen to 507. Theatres have opened in five provinces: Xinjiang; Shangdong, Sichuan, Fujian and Guangdong.
So, while this might be considered a small step, it’s something we’re clinging onto in hopes of returning to the cinema (and somewhat normal life) here in Australia.
Coffee club for healthcare workers
It’s easy to feel helpless at the moment as we’re literally confined to our homes as essential workers in healthcare, education, sanitation and supermarkets head out every day for work.
While there’s not much we can do to protect these workers from the current goings-on, we can provide a little joy for them. A GoFundMe initiative that was recently created allows individuals to donate money in order to buy a healthcare worker a cup of coffee.
Called Buy Them A Coffee, the initiative started at the Royal North Shore Hospital and has since moved to a number of others in Sydney, Melbourne and Wollongong. According to the GoFundMe page, the most popular request from healthcare workers was a good cup of coffee (which is a rarity in hospitals).
“We are looking to raise funds from our local community to show our support and care as these Healthcare Heroes are on the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis. From talking to local Dr’s and Nurses their no 1. ask was for a good coffee to get them through a shift!”
How it works is the money is donated to a cafe or coffee cart nearby and workers can head on over to pick up their cup of coffee or tea. For example, in Sydney, the money is donated to a coffee cart called Short Black Night Shift, “who is already visiting Hospitals in Sydney to deliver coffee nightly and local cafe partners who are close to hospitals.”
So far over $19,000 has been raised. To donate, click here.
View this post on Instagram
Smiles during what was undoubtedly one of the toughest night shifts ever – let’s try to earn a few more of these. Please continue to show your ❤️ & support for our incredible healthcare workers by donating at: Sydney – gofundme.com/f/buy-them-a coffee. Melbourne – gofundme.com/f/buy-then-a-coffee-Melbourne. Wollongong – gofund me.com/f/buy-then-a-coffee-Wollongong #covid_19 #covidkindness (photo credit- @roisin_broderick 😍🙏)
Australia’s COVID-19 testing is free and accessible
While it’s definitely not perfect, Australia’s testing method for COVID-19 is still one to be appreciated. According to a recent article in The New York Times, accessing testing in the United States is somewhat of a minefield compared to ours.
“Tom Hanks had a cold, or so he thought: slight fever, body aches, chills, the usual. In the United States, those symptoms may not be enough to get tested for the new coronavirus. But he and his wife, Rita Wilson, who also felt sick, weren’t at home — they were in Australia,” wrote Damien Cave for the Times. “Here, testing is free and widely available, thanks to early and coordinated planning for a pandemic.”
Communication has been lacking in many areas of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Government and healthcare system has managed to offer testing to those who need it. And, with changes due to be made to the criteria needed to be tested, more people will be able to access it if they are presenting symptoms but haven’t recently travelled.
The rise of community support
A quick scroll through the Facebook group, The Kindness Pandemic, shows that people are showing up for each other in a big way at the moment. Stories of neighbours purchasing groceries for those who are currently self-isolating and strangers paying $100 for a $4 cup of coffee is a great example of the spirit being shared.
Another example of this is the creation of printable postcards that you can share with your neighbours. Political activist group GetUp recently created a downloadable #ViralKindness postcard. If you have the time and capacity to provide help to those around you, fill in the card and pop in your neighbours letterbox. Click here to download your own postcard.
Italy experiences decline in new cases
After a devastating few weeks for Italy, the country is finally starting to see a drop off in the number of new cases of COVID-19. According to the World Health Organisation, the number of new infections declined by 997 (from 6,557 to 5,560). There has also been a decline in the number of hospitalised patients as well, as reported by People.
The entire country has been in lockdown for two weeks now, and while it has been an adjustment for citizens, it shows that social distancing and lockdown measures can work if given enough time to make a proper impact.
The current health crisis is evolving rapidly. If you suspect you or a family member has coronavirus you should call (not visit) your GP or ring the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.