Can there really be positive news in the midst of a pandemic? Yes, if you look closely!
We’re living in unprecedented times. For almost two months, most states shut down, with shopping malls, restaurants, corporations and small businesses closing their doors. Millions of U.S. workers were furloughed or laid off from their place of employment, while hundreds of thousands packed up their computers and desks to work from home. Let’s face it: The past few months have been nerve-wracking, stressful, scary and hard.
But, as they say, every cloud has a silver lining. Across the country, communities have rallied together to take care of one another, check in on neighbors, honor healthcare heroes and other essential workers, celebrate high school and college graduates, and spread kindness.
At Medecision, we like to celebrate the good and bring attention to the people who are trying to make a difference when the world feels a bit chaotic. Here are a few of our favorite stories.
> Congratulating the class of 2020. High school and college graduations were either canceled or postponed because of the coronavirus, leaving many young adults feeling let down after years of hard work and all-nighters studying for exams. On May 16, former President Barack Obama delivered a televised commencement address for the nationwide class of 2020 during an hourlong event aired on ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC. He was joined by celebrities, athletes and activists such as Megan Rapinoe, LeBron James, Lena Waithe, Pharrell Williams and Malala Yousafzai to encourage and share wisdom with the nation’s high school graduates. President Obama also addressed graduates of historically black colleges and universities in mid-May.
Many schools have also found creative ways to distribute diplomas and to honor students. For example, high school seniors from Speedway High School in Indiana received their diplomas at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indianapolis 500. Every graduate and their family drove a car onto the speedway and got out at the finish line to receive their diploma.
> Applauding healthcare workers. People all over the world are clapping for the healthcare workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. In New York, residents have stood on balconies and fire escapes and climbed onto roofs to applaud healthcare workers during the evening shift change. In Florida, the police and fire departments have lined up outside of hospitals to show their appreciation, clapping and holding signs with positive messages.
> Rallying together to show support. In Los Angeles, a group of friends and neighbors threw a welcome-home parade—social distancing-style—for a 15-year-old girl who finished her last round of chemotherapy. Courtney “Coco” Johnson finished her final treatment for a rare type of bone cancer known as Ewing sarcoma in late March. Her family originally planned a party and tropical vacation to celebrate, but the plans were put on hold by the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 70 people showed up in cars decorated with balloons and streamers to celebrate Johnson’s achievement.
> Helping make ends meet. Many people have been furloughed from their jobs or are facing unemployment, leaving many to worry about how they’ll pay their rent and cover basic expenses. In Bakersfield, California, H. Dennis Beaver helped ease the worries of his tenants, waiving April’s rent for all his properties in Kern County, California, as well as Los Angeles. His actions motivated other landlords to do the same or reduce the rent.
> Celebrating love from a distance. Nationwide, couples have been forced to cancel, reschedule or alter their wedding plans. Many couples decided to livestream their ceremonies on Facebook, while others invited loved ones to join via Zoom or Webex.
There are countless other stories of neighborhoods hosting birthday parades, restaurants donating free meals to first responders and healthcare workers, and people checking in on elderly neighbors to deliver food and supplies. In times of crisis, we have seen people come together—regardless of political views, religion or socioeconomic status—to help one another. While we don’t know what our “new normal” will look like, there’s one thing for sure: There’s always someone around to lend a helping hand.