The COVID-19 pandemic has caused considerable damage to the USA and across the globe, affecting politics, societies and economies as well as health and wellbeing. However, in spite of this there have been unified efforts to affect positive change across the world. Throughout the crisis there have been incredible, inspiring and imaginative acts of kindness, generosity and compassion. By recognising these acts of kindness, we are reminded that while we have no control over the measures enforced in response to the virus, resulting in many people losing money, employment and social contact, we do have control over how we respond to the situation and to others around us.
Unification through social media
Before the pandemic we saw society come to be increasingly fractured; social media platforms like Twitter became infiltrated by trolls, people from opposite sides of an ideology found those who disagreed with their views intolerable and political leaders appeared to promote further divisions with inflammatory statements and ill thought out initiatives. This behaviour led to a stifling of empathy, understanding and distorted perspectives. Now, however, a change is happening across the world, and social media has become a place to spread support, hope and positivity throughout a time 1 in 3 Americans are required to stay at home to help suppress the spread of COVID-19.
Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are full of heart-warming videos of people from across the world demonstrating beautiful and creative ways to spread joy to those in isolation; such as elderly couples dancing on their balconies, singers in Italy performing for their neighbours and streets across Europe applauding and cheering to show their deep gratitude to healthcare workers, risking their lives and sacrificing time with their families to take care of others.
Providing support for one another online
Social media has allowed communities to make online groups, organising food and medical supply deliveries to those who aren’t able to leave their homes. The ability to communicate in a time when social distancing can make the difference between life and death is crucial to health and wellbeing, and organisations supporting health and wellbeing, like Heather R Hayes & Associates Inc.
The effect of social distancing and isolation measures meant support meetings such as Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous were no longer possible, which disrupted support systems for many people who relied on these face to face interactions with others that can relate to their journey through recovery. Another change happening around the world though, is that there are a vast variety of therapists and organisations, such as Heather R Hayes & Associates Inc, that are dedicating their efforts to increase flexibility and creative alternatives to face to face meetings to provide support for those that are in need. 12 step programmes such as Debtors, Marijuana and Gaming Anonymous have adapted their ability to provide support for vulnerable populations through video and voice meetings, and text chat using a range of softwares such as Ventrilo and Skype; for a full list of these programmes and their availability please follow the link here.
The world’s wealthiest donating to those most vulnerable
The wealth gap in the USA is understood to be the widest it’s ever been and had been a great subject of contention in politics, right up until the COVID-19 virus took hold of the country. While it is obvious that the effect of the virus will have a greater impact on people with less financial security; some of the richest people around the world, such as Bill Gates, Giorgio Armani and Hong Kong’s richest man Li Ka-Shing have donated enormous sums of money to help support vulnerable people in times of desperate need.
After previously warning of the worlds developing countries’ inability to respond to a pandemic, Bill Gates has reportedly donated $100 million though his foundation to provide low and middle income countries in Africa and Southern Asia with highly trained healthcare workers, establishing an international database on information for the outbreak of the virus and to fund vaccine manufacturing facilities.
NBA players Kevin Love and Zion Williams of the New Orleans Pelicans have donated thousands of dollars to help arena and support staff while the basketball season is suspended, with more NBA players following suit, donating up to $100,000 to struggling families in this uncertain time. On Williams’ Instagram he wrote, “These are the folks who make our games possible, creating the perfect environment for our fans and everyone involved in the organization. This is a small way for me to express my support and appreciation for these wonderful people.”
And where money isn’t available, love is
However, even more outstanding are those that may not have considerable monetary wealth that still dedicate their time to helping others, like Social Worker Chun Rosencranz, a resident in Chelsea, NYC who, although is not currently receiving a pay check, reported to CBS News that providing help to the homeless may not fill his bank account, but fills his soul.
As others stay in their homes to help prevent the spread of the virus, Chun and two other volunteers, choreographer Paul McGill and pianist Danny Zelibor, get up at 7am every morning to go shopping for supplies to provide sandwiches for homeless and vulnerable people in the city. Chun explained that Westside Market gave him a discount because they wanted to support his cause; “We have an assembly line, basically, in my tiny New York apartment kitchen” Rosencranz told CBS News.
As the days and weeks continue to pass throughout the pandemic it is evident that positivity, kindness and generosity are also beginning to spread throughout the country, and affecting change around the world. The choice to provide hope, care and assistance is there for us all to take to help protect each other and especially those who are most vulnerable in this time of crisis.