Article by Victoria Wood
As some countries in the world face a rise in death tolls, many others are moving in the direction of loosening lockdown restrictions. This is an ever-changing situation and when it comes to troublesome times, unprecedented circumstances and that which is out of our control, we need to focus on positive things to keep our hopes up. So, here we are, back once again with some GOOD NEWS to keep your spirits burning Bright!
The focus this week is the positive outcomes and dramatic changes that have resulted from this negative situation:
The way we work
In the post Covid world we now have a permanent WFH (working from home). Some companies are promoting the idea of maintaining a WFH option on a permanent basis which would mean a lot more flexibility for employees, as well as a cut in expenses for employers. Last week, Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, told his staff that they may remain WFH “forever.” And yesterday he extended the same opportunity to his employees at Square. This unprecedented statement will change forever the way we work, and probably the way we live. Given the chance, who would want to pay high rents for small apartments in cramped cities when you can get more bang for your buck outside the city?
Dramatic reduction in air pollution
Air quality has risen phenomenally since the start of the global lockdowns and sudden lack of human interference. Research shows that daily carbon emissions have dropped by more than one sixth worldwide. In comparison to the month of April in 2019, this year 17 million tons less carbon dioxide was emitted into the atmosphere!
With many cities having closed off certain routes and traffic having been at a minimum, we have seen the incredible drop in air pollution in some of the previously worst air quality zones in the world. Some cities are pushing for extensions of pedestrianised areas as well as the use of bicycles rather than cars. In the US, bike sales have risen dramatically. London and New York are now both considering keeping the ‘open streets’ policies in place, allowing pedestrians and cyclists more freedom and safety to navigate the cities. This is great news! Less cars in our cities means less pollution, and more people cycling means we will all get fitter! Win win.
The EU is set to borrow a whopping $545 billion in an attempt to reverse the negative economical impact on the continent, with a focus on the hardest hit and poorer southern regions. This will hopefully come as huge relief to struggling businesses, unemployed, and all those suffering financially from this crisis. It doesn’t bode well for the future debt of the EU but perhaps will serve to unite and strengthen bonds within its boundaries.
There have been some humorous yet effective methods to maintain social distancing. Take the Cafe & Konditorei Rothe in Schwerin, Germany, which reopened last week. They used their initiative and applied a dash of silliness to create the now famous Noodle Hats in order to maintain the essential meterage between their customers. “In these difficult times it’s a pleasure to make others smile,” restaurant owner Jacqueline Rothe said.
Recognition and Awards
We are all aware of the effort that Captain Tom Moore achieved in the UK, which rapidly turned into a whirlwind of attention and support reflecting the nation’s appreciation for the veteran but mainly the focus of his campaign, the NHS. He has managed to raise around 33 million British pounds in total, an incredible feat and one that has earned him a knighthood from the queen. His response on hearing the news was fabulous: “I hope the Queen’s not heavy handed with the sword!”
Publication of the Queen’s Birthday Honours list on 12 June has been postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Boris Johnson said it would be published in the autumn and would recognise “the extraordinary contributions being made by so many” in response to the coronavirus.
United by the power of music
One of the things we have witnessed throughout this global crisis is the way that the human race comes together in times of trouble. We have seen people singing from their balconies, blasting out tunes from their sound systems for the whole neighbourhood to hear, online concerts from celebrities and Broadway and West End musicals broadcast for free. The world has been united by the power of music.
In the UK, more than 65 churches united to sing a blessing over the nation and this powerful message of hope went viral – within hours of being posted on May 3rd it had 900,000 views. It now has nearly 3 million! Many of the participating churches assisted with providing more than 400,000 meals to the high-risk and elderly who have been on lockdown since the pandemic began. Be blessed and watch it now:
Far and wide people are suffering heavily with stress and anxiety, as well as depression. This has brought to light the severity of these issues and just how commonplace, widespread and serious they can be. There have been examples of free mental health care offered by communities and governments, abundant online help by professionals, and forums allowing those who need it to talk freely about their issues. As well as this, many articles have been published suggesting methods by which to relieve stress naturally in the safety of your own home. Content which, although always available, has become far more accessible in these times of need.
Due to the difficulty in reliable testing, a test to see whether someone has already had the coronavirus has been developed and approved in the UK. It is also being used in some EU countries as well as some areas in the US. The test accurately shows whether the subject has previously had the virus as it denotes the antibodies which develop as a result.
There is a promising new vaccine on the horizon from the US, which is still in testing phase, but hopes are high that this could potentially be ‘the one’! The Massachusetts-based biotech company Moderna is developing an RNA-based vaccine, called mRNA-1273. They have already completed phase 1 trials and have been given the go-ahead by the FDA to begin the phase 2 trial which will involve 600 healthy individuals. The vaccine is being developed in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). The company has been granted a ‘fast track’ designation by the FDA and is slated to begin phase 3 trials in the month of July. There is still a long way to go, but fingers crossed….Watch this space.
A Hydroxychloroquine trial has just begun today (Thursday 21st May) in the UK to see whether two anti-malarial drugs could prevent Covid-19. Chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine or a placebo will be given to more than 40,000 healthcare workers from Europe, Africa, Asia and South America – all of whom are in direct contact with Covid-19 patients. US President Donald Trump has been making the headlines this week with the news that he already takes it – despite warnings it might be unsafe.
The participants will be given either hydroxychloroquine or a placebo for three months. It will test whether the drugs can prevent healthcare workers exposed to the virus from contracting it. Prof Martin Llewelyn from Brighton and Sussex Medical School, who is leading the trials said: “A widely available, safe and effective vaccine may be a long way off. If drugs as well-tolerated as chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine could reduce the chances of catching Covid-19, this would be incredibly valuable.”
The trial not only invoices researchers from the UK but also Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Italy.
A pop up wedding booth has been set up in California, complying with all the relevant social distancing rules and restrictions, couples can still manage to tie the knot – albeit to a stranger behind a sheet of glass! If you are in the Anaheim area and desperately want to fulfil your dreams of saying ‘I do’ during these strange and uncertain times, then head for the parking lot at the Honda Centre for the Covid-19 wedding booth!
A group of London bikers have clubbed together to create the Bike Shed Community Response and Covid Crisis Rescue Service. They deliver devices to patients in need, or at high risk of deterioration, who need to monitor their oxygen levels. Keeping a close eye on their oxygen can prevent fatality as one serious side effect of the virus is a silent hypoxia. The devices can be requested by calling a helpline, open 24 hours a day, then one of the bikers delivers it to the door of the person in need (within the London area) in under 90 minutes. This is a 100% charity-based operation.
Some good news
The YouTube channel ‘Some Good News’, or ‘SGN’, created by US actor John Krasinski, from the comfort of his own home, has racked up a huge number of followers around the globe. So much so that there is now merchandise available, designed by fans, which, when sold, will result in the proceeds going to charity to support aid for coronavirus. Starbucks just announced that they will match the first $1 million raised! That is some good news!
Watch the latest instalment below to see some heartwarming and moving survival stories: videos of people having beaten the virus and leaving hospital to red carpets and corridors full of staff clapping, 99 year olds defeating the virus, a holocaust survivor overcoming Covid-19, how medical staff declare “code joy” when a patient is being discharged with balloons and streamers lining the reception of the hospital as patients finally leave for home, and the story of Gregg Garfield whose doctors gave a 1% chance of survival – you guessed it, he just went home safe and well. You’ll also see a father in Scotland being reunited with his daughter after he had to self-isolate for two months while she underwent chemotherapy. This is moving stuff! Have a look and I can guarantee some tears, some laughs and some serious restoration of faith in humanity and our uncanny ingenuity.
Everyone needs a reminder of the good in the world, of resilience, kindness and generosity and that humans truly are beautiful beings. Until next week – spread and share the good news! The future is Bright!