Emerging Heroes: What the World is Doing to Provide Support and Spark Joy Amid COVID-19
April 2, 2020
Right now, we could all use a little sunshine. With Coronavirus updates dominating the news cycle, it can become difficult to see past discouraging statistics and unprecedented global announcements. However, in times of crisis, human beings often have a habit of happily surprising one another. Amid the noise of media emerges communities of support, acts of compassion, and many, many hand-washing memes.
To combat fear and questions raised by their communities, government and health organizations around the world are doing their best to keep citizens informed and supported. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has begun to address issues many patients needing continuous care are facing. It has become increasingly difficult for patients to receive medication, and clinical trials now face enrollment and retention challenges. If you are faced with these difficulties, keep up with live updates and current standard operating procedures through evolving web resources. A clear and pointed global effort is being made to support high-risk individuals as their unique needs during this time continue to evolve.
Many foundations have begun to provide resources that are beneficial for their disease-specific community, filtering out the noise and unnecessary panic inducing narratives to make way for useful and informative content. Some are hopeful that this new global focus on finding rapid testing methods and therapies will translate to a bigger push in other areas of medical discovery and healthcare policy. Rare disease advocate Luke Rosen believes, “We now have an opportunity to sit down and really articulate our rare disease story, connecting with people in industry and biotech companies to advance longitudinal research digitally.” While some rare disease organizations are hopeful awareness and medical efforts will improve with increased conversation around medically at-risk individuals, others turn to the internet for comic relief and as a way to de-stress.
People of all ages and demographics have turned to the internet to pair creativity with humor, entertaining quarantined masses in an attempt to spread joy. Celebrities are serenading the world, memes about hand washing and social distancing are being circulated, and TikTok has become a household name. With many creatives seeking an outlet, some have found relief in virtual yoga classes, cooking tutorials, and Instagram live performances. This has been met with some disagreement, as others believe these displays trivialize the seriousness of COVID-19. Others still argue that social media challenges and virtual forms of entertainment act as a unifying agent, encouraging people to stay home and find new ways to stay busy. Many have taken this time to bond with their neighbors, entertaining and engaging with one other while being able to stay in their homes. As we continue to navigate next steps, many people who have been forced to distance themselves reflect on the relieving power of a good laugh.
Acting as another form of encouragement, members of the rare disease community are speaking out about their experience as a high-risk demographic, and offering advice on ways to stay healthy and safe while limiting risk of exposure. As many people’s lives and daily needs continue to be threatened by COVID-19, more still have decided to use the opportunity to spread awareness and tell their story. From those who are immunocompromised and have had experience with self-distancing or quarantining, we’ve seen tips on how to best meet medical needs while having little access to the outside world, free education tools for students, and even homeschool and hobby ideas. Even as a vulnerable population, the rare disease community continues to inspire and empower others with their unique knowledge.
Organizations and individuals alike are providing special accommodations to encourage and accommodate staying home. Delivery services, restaurants, airlines, and streaming services are among the many groups who have all taken action to support and provide resources for those working to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Gyms have begun offering free online classes, grocery stores now have special hours for senior citizens, and food delivery services are offering discounts on local restaurants, recognizing that small businesses and those with restricted diets could be struggling during this time. Those who are in a position to offer concessions and benefits are stepping up to the challenge, inspiring hope everywhere. The innovations and precautions being taken by organizations around the world not only unites us, but offers support in the knowledge that we are not alone.
How to Help
With new information being released daily and best practices continuing to change, causing many to live in uncertainty, there are a few ways to persist spreading this message of support and hope. The world is experiencing critical blood donation shortages, putting the lives of those who rely on regular transfusions in danger. If you’re healthy, a blood donation can make all the difference. Grocery shopping while being safe and also being conscious of items that are medically necessary for some people like Pedialyte, distilled water, and food items on the WIC authorized food list can help keep someone who is at risk fed and healthy. As we continue to make safe decisions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and its subsequent feelings of fear and uncertainty, the compassion and selflessness being demonstrated from all corners of the world can provide a much-needed beacon of light.
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