My sister completely broke down the other day. She cried during the Zoom call. She cried after the Zoom call. She cried again when speaking with my wife the next day. It had nothing to do with the nature of the call.
The Zoom call celebrated my brother’s 75th birthday. Thirty members of the Greenfeld family joined us from across the country; including my sister in Winnipeg. My brother shared a video of him playing with his grandchildren during the Zoom call. My sister broke down because she has not been able to play with her grandkids for 3 months. It was heart wrenching to see our family member so devastated. We all listened and supported her while she shared her feelings of despair. This leads me to my question: Can something good come from a pandemic?
1. People and Businesses Come Together
My sister may not have shared her thoughts if we had not come together over a family Zoom call during Covid-19. We are finding ways to bring out the best in ourselves and our communities by sharing, listening to each other, and providing support.
· People all over the world have joined local community volunteer groups to help the most vulnerable.
· Small and large businesses have created online resources for their clients. Delta Assist in Ladner is happy to provide virtual (phone and online) counselling to residents.
· Restaurants have created innovative ways to provide food for local responders that are working long hours; like Stir Coffee House and their Stirsday donation program.
· Canadians singing ‘O Canada’ on Sundays at 12:00 noon and 7:00 pm applause for healthcare works on the front lines in BC.
· Paper hearts and encouraging signs in people’s windows for health-care workers.
· Parents showing support for students and staff by organizing vehicle parades decorated with artwork.
2. Mother Nature Gets a Breather
Earth Day is great; but it’s only one day a year. The reduction in transportation, manufacturing and self-isolation have not only been good for our lungs, but reduced pollution worldwide:
· NASA images indicate a huge decrease in air pollution and CO2 emissions; particularly in Wuhan and other parts of China.
· For the first time in 30 years, the Himalayas can now be seen in the distance in Punjab, India and the smog has lifted in New Delhi.
· Marine life is now being spotted in the canals of Venice and the water has never been clearer.
· Animals are returning to seas and parks and taking back a little piece of nature for themselves. For example, Thailand's rare leatherback turtles, which have built more nests on the quiet shores than at any time in the past 20 years.
3. Self-Improvement Becomes Big
Personal development and self-care have seen an up-tick since we have had to self-isolate. Personally, I decided that since I could not complete my annual detox trip to Thailand, I was going to improve my health on my own by eating better and exercising daily. Other people have chosen to:
· Stay fit by joining online yoga or workout classes like the ones put on by Open Space Yoga in Ladner.
· Join online webinars put on by professionals that are willing to share their expertise for free during the pandemic.
· Read self-help books or take online classes that upgrade their soft skills for work.
· Express gratitude in small ways like watching hummingbirds splash in their birdbath as my assistant Karen has done.
4. We Learn how to slow the Spread
Social distancing, self-isolating and quarantining have all played an important part in turning the tide of the COVID-19 pandemic. So has washing our hands, wearing face masks and not touching our face. Following the advice of our local authority to minimize our chances of getting or spreading the virus has slowed and contained the spread; particularly in countries that acted early. All this bodes well when or if another wave or COVID-19 comes or whether it’s a new illness.
· As of April, five vaccine candidates have moved into clinical development in early stage human trials, including CanSino's, called Ad5-nCoV. (CBC News)
5. Elder Care Neglect Gets Exposed
We have all learned that elderly people are the most vulnerable to the virus. The pandemic has revealed deadly flaws in our care infrastructure; especially in our long-term care facilities. Recent reports from Canadian troops sent to help at care facilities in late April have indicated neglected and malnourished residents, rotten food, cockroach infestations, and a blatant disregard for critical safety protocol. Sometimes residents had not been bathed in months, leading to hygiene related infections. Even worse, residents have succumbed to the disease without having their loved ones with them during their last hours.
These issues are a real wake up call for our society. It causes us to review how we collectively look after our elderly during a time of crisis. Hopefully it will issue in a new standard of care that is more empathetic towards residents as well as their extended families.
Yes, COVID-19 has been deadly and changed our lives forever. But along with all the bad, there are small glimmers of hope and resilience in society. And that’s nothing to cry about.
Can you think of more? Let us know by leaving a comment!