By Rebecca Fending
With the coronavirus pandemic well under way, most news articles we consume tend to include a growing negative statistics that heighten our worries and anxieties even more than they already are. However, the current global situation also holds surprising benefits, a wonderful sense of optimism we could all use. Now more than ever we see a rise in community support and solidarity. So, what have we done that has helped this situation?
Community Support Through Distance
The fact that every one of us is currently experiencing the same emotions in trying to live through the pandemic gives a new meaning to the word “community”. More than just the general area of where you live, community also means people coming together in an effort to move past this.
One example of how people have banded together during this time is through song. At the beginning of the virus spread through Italy, people in Rome stood on their balconies and sang the National Anthem to each other over top of the street. This acted as both a comfort and a turning point in regard to a new hope. With folks coming together, whether it be six feet apart or on opposite sides of the wall, it makes the pandemic seem insignificant in comparison to humanity’s ability to overcome the darkest of occasions.
Another case in which people have put their renewed sense of community on display is by delivering groceries to the elderly. Since the virus is especially dangerous for older people, simple things like shopping for weekly groceries has turned into a nerve-wracking experience.
However, organizations like Neighborly, an affiliate of Meals on Wheels, is working to provide both food and company to seniors who are unable to leave their homes. Focusing on Pinellas County, Florida, the volunteer-run organization deliveries groceries to seniors within two hours of their order. Not only do they give folks access to one of the most basic of needs, but they also offer company to those who need assistance. With an adult daycare option, Neighborly works to care for those who are unable to properly care for themselves.
When the pandemic is over, people will forever remember what their neighbors have done for them. Comfort and compassion from strangers will outweigh the immediate fear felt in the moment.
Acts of Solidarity During the Pandemic
The orders for social distancing and increased need for personal protective equipment, though essential, hold an alienating quality among people when in public. Yet, what we don’t consider is that the use of personal masks when in public is actual an act in order to protect others from you. Really, using a mask and seeing others wearing theirs is an act in solidarity for the greater good of the general public.
Perhaps the biggest act of solidarity among people during the global coronavirus outbreak has been the period of quarantine. With stores, restaurants and nearly any place we used to go freely closed for the foreseeable future, many of us stayed at home for month than two months. The idea was that quarantining at home would help “flatten the curve“, or greatly reduce the number of projected COVID-19 cases. And with people having stayed at home during the height of the virus, we were able to avoid an even larger outbreak. This collective act only worked because of our combined care for our own health, and others.
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder
Another factor that may be a blessing in disguise is the fact that many people have been unable to visit with family and friends for the past few months. Although this has been painful and upsetting, from missed birthdays to canceled graduations and parties, it will ultimately make us more aware and more grateful for those around us.
Family is typically something we take for granted as there’s rarely a second thought when it comes to their immediate presence. As many people were unable to visit their mothers on Mother’s Day, we hope to see them soon as this pandemic fades to an end. And when we do, it will be all the more sweet of a reunion.
Really what this pandemic has shown us is that people aren’t all that bad. Although we have seen those who have acted out in terms of fighting over goods at the grocery store or protesting to end the quarantine shutdown, there are many people who still believe in sacrifice for the greater good. For that reason, this pandemic has renewed our hope in humanity’s response to a global crisis.