COVID-19 has challenged companies, communities and individuals in many ways. It’s rare for a global event to have such vast implications that affect each of us both personally and professionally. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you work, what you do, or where you live; Coronavirus has affected you.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it a lot of uncertainty about our future. With everyone at home doing their part to flatten the curve, there’s also not a whole lot else to talk about.
Image borrowed from Healthline.
Among all the fear and uncertainty, however, communities around the world are stepping up to support each other, to bring hope to their neighbours and to highlight that we are, in fact, in this together.
The incredible power of individuals to have a positive impact on the world has been proven time and time again in the past few months. It’s important to see it, to recognize it and to remember these examples long after COVID leaves the headlines.
Do you know a feel-good story that’s not in our list? Comment below and share it with us and our readers!
5 Ways the World Is Coming Together During the COVID-19 Pandemic
1. The Global 3D Printing Community Rose Up To Fill the PPE Gap
One of the biggest challenges facing healthcare workers during the rise of COVID-19 was the shortage of protective equipment. As members of the construction industry, we all know how important PPE is to keep ourselves safe. For healthcare workers, this equipment is vital.
As headlines of PPE shortages for frontline workers were splashed across newspapers and websites around the world, the 3D printers of the world rose up to meet the challenge. It started off with a local company in Italy printing pieces for hospital ventilators. Breathing masks, protective shields and even ear protectors to hook face masks onto have been produced by companies and individuals alike with access to 3D printers. The global community came together to fill the shortage.
Image borrowed from Forbes.
It not only highlights the power of technology to tackle problems in a new way but also how quickly people are willing to step up and help however they can.
Not sure what 3D printing is or how it works? Learn all about it here.
2. Free education opportunities offered around the world
Whether it comes from the need to keep businesses going, to keep themselves busy or to contribute to the community during this time, many businesses and institutions are offering free courses for people at home.
Many universities, like the University of California, Berkeley, are offering free online courses to help keep people busy and engaged during social distancing and isolation. From well being to developing new hobbies and skills, there are so many different courses out there for whatever your interest is.
Future Learn from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine is offering a course all about COVID-19, how the outbreak could affect you and what the global implications of the virus could be. This course is also free and, although created in the UK, tackles many topics about COVID that are applicable to us all.
There’s no limit to the virtual learning opportunities out there: educational institutions, yoga companies, cooking classes, painting lessons… it’s kind of remarkable when you think about it. A simple Google search can pull up all kinds of courses, depending on what your interest is.
3. World wide recognition about the value of human connection and relationships
As social distancing and isolation continues, the importance of relationships and personal connection is being recognized in a new way. This appreciation is manifesting itself in a few ways, all as heartwarming at the other.
Social media is proving to be a great way to show this renewed respect for our relationships. People are reliving memories with friends and sharing photos of loved ones in an effort to spread the love.
People are feeding their neighbours, donating food, singing off balconies and celebrating their community in new ways.
4. Essential workers are getting global recognition
Headlines are celebrating nurses, janitors, grocery store clerks, doctors, public transit workers and other essential workers in a way that has never been seen before. As athletes and celebrities are quarantined along with the rest of us, headlines focus on the people who are keeping us fed and healthy.
It’s a renewed recognition of who the heroes of our society are. It’s not just in the news, either. This recognition has spread to individuals within communities, large and small, as children colour sidewalks, families hang signs in their windows and decorate rocks outside of local hospitals.
They’re called ‘gratitude gardens’.
A gratitude garden outside of Guelph General Hospital in Guelph, Ontario. Image borrowed from Guelph Today.
The United Nations published an article about how COVID-19 could change the recognition and level of importance placed on nurses forever. Called the “backbone to health services worldwide”, the value placed on nurses and other health care workers will change because of this pandemic – in a good way.
Cities around the world have started holding “make noise” minutes in an effort to show support for healthcare and frontline workers. People are in the streets with pots and pans, leaning out of windows and clapping on balconies all at a set time to show their appreciation. In many cities, police vehicles and fire trucks even chime in.
This happens every night at 7:00 in New York City, for example. One of the largest, most recognized cities in the world “makes noise” every night at 7. For frontline workers.
Check out this video from New York Senator Brad Holyman to get an idea of what it sounds like. You can hear the cheers echoing from around New York.
Don’t Forget Other Frontline Workers
Appreciation for grocery clerks, truck drivers, delivery people and small businesses has also boomed. People want to shop and eat locally. People are thanking grocery cashiers for coming into work. Janitors and sanitation workers are no longer looked down upon with the stereotypes that have lasted for decades.
It’s not just communities recognizing these workers, either. Governments are thanking front line workers every day and some are introducing hourly wage increases as a display of this gratitude.
5. Positive changes for health and safety standards across industries
The pandemic had challenged our communities in many ways. The new spotlight on health, sanitization, social distancing and personal protection could lead to some positive changes in resources and health and safety standards across many industries. The call for changes aren’t just coming from those within these industries either. As headlines highlight these issues, the call for change comes from almost anyone and everyone.
The shortage of PPE for nurses and health care workers will change the way healthcare facilities stock and store extra supplies. This kind of shortage will not be accepted again. Linked to the appreciation for frontline workers, the public will not stand for it anymore. They demand higher standards on behalf of these workers – whether they are personally involved or not.
Image borrowed from Al Jazeera.
This is one place where construction is really affected. The need to enforce regular sanitization, to have proper handwashing facilities and to practise social distancing changed the very make up of construction sites. Having more established washroom facilities instead of porta potties and fitting construction sites with actual handwashing stations with running water could be a new norm for the industry. There are many other ways that the construction industry could look very different after COVID-19 and this is just one of them.
One major change that could come out of COVID-19 that could affect everyone is the focus on health and wellbeing. The encouragement to work through illnesses will stop. The weeks of working from home during this time prove that there’s no need to come into the office if you have a cough or aren’t feeling well.
Paid sick days will become a standard for those who can’t work from home or for the days when you really don’t feel well. We will stop celebrating those who work through fevers and flus – and it’s going to be for the benefit of us all.
As scary as COVID-19 is and as anxious we all are about what it will do to change our lives, there is so much hope in the world. These 5 ways that communities are connecting are just a few examples of the many ways people are stepping up. It’s important to keep these positive stories in mind if only to remind us that the world is a good place.
As we continue through this pandemic, keep an eye out for these stories. When you find them – share them. Post them on your social media or come back here and post the links in the comments. Let’s make it so that when we think back on this time in history the memories come with good news stories and appreciation for the communities we live in.