North Texas Daily

There is a bright side to COVID-19 making us socially distance

There is a bright side to COVID-19 making us socially distance

There is a bright side to COVID-19 making us socially distance
April 14
17:52 2020

Currently the world is experiencing a global pandemic and it has taken over every aspect of our lives. We are constantly bombarded with horrible news of death and suffering, which could lead to depression, anxiety and fear. For our physical safety, we are practicing social distancing. Isolation could push many of us further into the darkness though.

The unemployment rate has sky-rocketed along with the health risk and workload for essential employees. Schools are closed, forcing students into virtual classrooms where many don’t have internet access at home. People who practice faith cannot go to church due to social distancing either. Coronavirus hospital patients are dying alone without seeing their families or friends one last time. The U.S. government hasn’t responded to the pandemic appropriately, further heightening fears.

Although it may be difficult to see it, there is a glimmer of hope and positivity hidden within the darkness encapsulating the world right now. We are connected to each other through technology more than we’ve ever been. Social distancing laws have limited our physical interactions, but we’re using technology to bridge the gap and bring us all closer.

Video calls have replaced group hangouts. Churches of all faiths are holding virtual services. Home-cooked meals and take out have replaced dining out with family and friends. Families are communicating more because they are worried about each other and now have the time to reach out.

Live music has been replaced by live streams on social media, where band members perform separately from their living rooms. ‘Netflix and chill’ has transformed into virtual Netflix parties where we watch together while physically separated.

Healthcare workers are being recognized for their hard work and sacrifices. People all over the world are taking the time to applaud them from their balconies. Instead of taking them for granted, they are being appreciated and valued.

Delivery drivers, food service workers, janitorial staff, industrial workers and essential retail employees are receiving praise as well. These are the people risking their own health to provide essential services while we’re safe inside our homes.

Good Samaritans have volunteered to become ‘Shopping Angels’ and provide free grocery delivery to elderly people. The program was started by a college student at the University of Nevada and has rapidly expanded to different cities across the U.S.

With the schools closed, many children have lost access to meals they depend on. School districts, local restaurants and city governments around the nation have come together to fix this problem. Currently, the Denton Independent School District is providing children with free on-the-go meals for breakfast and lunch. Without volunteers, it wouldn’t be possible for them to do this.

Abandoned hobbies have been rediscovered as we find ourselves stuck inside with an abundance of free time. Personally, I’ve started painting and making music again. Young children have held porch concerts for elderly neighbors, too. Musicians all over the world are playing and singing together from their balconies.

Animal shelters are thriving as more people adopt pets or take in fosters. The Wisconsin Humane Society experienced an overload of animal foster requests and it crashed their website. Within a week they had cleared out the entire shelter, 159 animals were adopted and 160 animals were placed into foster homes.

Pets around the world are ecstatic to have their human’s home to give endless belly rubs, play with them and go for walks. Zoo animals are being let out to roam freely while they are closed to the public. Because the virus originated in a Chinese wet market, the consumption and farming of wild animals is finally being prohibited. It may be difficult to end such a lucrative trade, but I think it’s a step in the right direction to protect both animals and humans.

The planet is also benefiting from this. Fewer cars on the street has led to a reduction of carbon emissions poisoning the environment. As a result, air quality is improving all over the world. China experienced a 21.5% increase in good quality air days in February compared to last year. Water pollution in Italy has decreased so much that residents can clearly see through the water in the Venice Canal.

Faith in humanity has been restored by witnessing the good deeds during this crisis. I find solace in our ability to stay connected while physically separated. I’m grateful when I see healthcare workers risking their lives to save others and it gives me hope.

We are all in this together. Humanity is thriving in an awful situation, which was supposed to bring out the worst in us, but has instead mined some positive affirmations.

Featured Illustration: Olivia Varnell

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Shelby Stevens

Shelby Stevens

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