As the world continues to battle against the weight of the coronavirus pandemic, it is paramount that we balance out the bad with as much good as we possibly can. For that reason we have scoured the planet for all the positive news and found plenty of uplifting information, whether it’s elderly virus survivors, environmental miracles, or simply people singing from the rooftops, it is all we need to feel that hope, restore our faith in humanity, and trust that the future is still bright.
Social Media saves lives
The Colchester Anti Loo Roll Brigade began as a Facebook group during lockdown in England focussing on supporting the vulnerable during the pandemic. Since the group began it has managed to rehouse displaced families and provide endless supplies to those in need within the community. The social media based group now has over 9,000 members and the founder has given up his job to continue the good work full-time as he became aware just how many people are struggling in the community. The future of the group is to become an official company who are linked with various charities to be able to aid and support all involved.
Vietnamese save Scottish pilot
Stephen Cameron, a 42-year-old Scottish pilot contracted COVID-19 whilst meeting friends in Ho Chi Minh city. After being admitted to hospital his health rapidly spiralled downwards and he ended up having to spend an incredible 68 days on a ventilator! Cameron firmly believes that in many other countries he would have not survived as they would have given up on his case after such a long time. The perseverance of the doctors at the hospital, as well as regular coverage of his situation in the Vietnamese media has made him something of a national celebrity and served to aid his recovery. During his two and a half month period in hospital he was placed in a medically induced coma, placed on life support by way of an Ecmo machine – this takes your blood, pumps it full of oxygen and passes it back through you. There were some complications but Cameron was extremely fortunate to come out of the ordeal relatively unscathed. Having only been given a 10% chance of survival friends and family at home in Scotland had all but given up themselves and begun the grieving process. However Cameron is currently awaiting a flight home and working on reviving his now weakened legs in physiotherapy to carry him there.
Medical breakthrough from Oxford University
Amidst a rather abysmal pandemic situation in the UK, a study, led by a small team at Oxford University, tested the drug Dexamethasone (amongst other similar drugs) on patients suffering with COVID-19. The ‘Recovery’ trial was set up rapidly in only nine days, took on 11,500 COVID-19 patients across 175 hospitals. For those who are in the altered stage of the virus, where the immune system begins to overreact and incur inflammation, the body itself starts to cause the damage to the lungs and beyond. Dexamethasone is an anti-inflammatory drug which has been in use medically for over 50 years, being an immunosuppressive there were mixed feelings and strong doubts as to whether limiting our immune system function could potentially cause the virus to worsen. Steroid-based drugs previously having been avoided for this very reason.
Patients during the trial who required either a ventilator or oxygen were those who benefited from the drug as it permitted their lungs to recover without the immune system overreacting. The result of the study was that the dexamethasone proved to help some people to recover, reducing the death toll of those in ICU, or critical condition. It is not a cure, nor does it work on everybody, but it is an extremely positive breakthrough as lives can be saved with this widely available and low-cost drug.
One of the most uplifting outcomes of the study itself was the cooperation and tireless efforts from those involved. Many people had to make the difficult decision as to whether to join the trial and thousands of doctors and nurses pitched in alongside the Oxford team to make this happen.
Amazing recovery by 114 year old Ethiopian man
Aba Tilahun Woldemichael from Addis ababa, Ethiopia was randomly tested and found to have the coronavirus and promptly taken to hospital despite showing no symptoms. Due to his old age the medical staff at the Yeka Kotebe hospital in the country’s capital, took his case seriously from the start. Within a week Aba Tilahun required oxygen as his lungs began to suffer severely from the rapid onset of the virus. As well as being on oxygen for a week out of the two he spent in hospital he was given antibiotics and dexamethasone. From then he went on to make an incredible recovery and is now convalescing at home with his grandson.
US Vaccine updates
As clinical studies progress to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, candidates are set to go into late-stage testing by the end of this month. Modern Inc who are leading the trials also confirmed that 30,000 volunteers are entering this phase this month. Following this, if successful we will know as to whether a safe and effective vaccine will be the outcome by the end of the year, or early next year.
In Denmark progress is being made on the development of a robot that can help testing for COVID-19, thus reducing the amount of people required to do so as well as limiting exposure to the virus for medical staff. This would make testing more widely available and less risky.
Argentinian survivors step up
Recovering patients of COVID-19 in Argentina are donating their plasma in an attempt to help others suffering with the virus. Tests are underway to determine the effectiveness of plasma as a treatment against the coronavirus. People from all over the country, if they have been well for over two weeks as well as testing negative for the virus twice, have been flocking to health centres to donate their plasma. There have been positive outcomes from using plasma as a treatment already and so this nationwide call for help has been received amazingly well by people just wanting to do their part to heal others. Out of the 67,000 cases Argentina has reported they have approximately 23,000 recoveries.
Barcelona patients get a breath of fresh air
The Hospital del Mar in Barcelona have been wheeling their patients outside and as close to the sea as possible – some still in their beds! The view as well as the fresh air do wonders to lift the spirits and recharge the batteries, as well as a literal change of scenery. These are all simple concepts that have a positive effect on us all and so the staff believed this was definitely an essential part of the recovery process.
In the video below you can see the wonderful staff at the Hospital del Mar said goodbye to Isidro, the patient whose image went around the world because they took him out on a stretcher, after over 45 days in the ICU, to see the sea, a photograph that was the cover of dozens of newspapers.
Stay safe and keep looking on the Bright side!