With the United States surpassing all other countries as the hotspot for coronavirus with over 135,000 cases, reality has been getting pretty frightening. With strict calls to stay home, worrying news and climbing numbers, it’s easy for our morale to reach an all-time low. While this may seem like a dark time, there is some positive news coming out of all of this.
1. Global air pollution has dropped
As industries are closing down and less people are traveling, there have been reductions in greenhouse gases such as nitrogen dioxide around the world. Wired reports that nitrogen dioxide levels are down 10-30% in different areas of China and 40% in Italy. With the United States following in Italy's footsteps by promoting self-quarantining and closing public spaces, levels should start to drop here as well. Even if these levels increase back to the previous high numbers once things settle, this still proves hope of the change we can make in the future to keep the numbers down.
2. More animals are getting adopted
Need company during social distancing? Adopt a pet! New York has seen a major increase in cat and dog adoptions — one adoption center happily says it is completely out of dogs to match people with. Pets make the best companions during tough times, and they'll be happy to stay home and hang out with you all day. As long as you'll be able to care for the pet once things go back to normal, go get that puppy you've been considering for so long! Don't think you'll be able to give your new pet enough love later? Fostering pets have increased dramatically with many cities getting hundreds of new applications per week. Need another reason to foster besides a new best friend? Busch is giving away "three months of beer" to anyone who fosters or adopts a dog during the coronavirus outbreak.
3. Surge in volunteers and donations
Over half a million people have signed up to volunteer for the National Health Service in the UK to help those who are having a hard time being stuck at home. Here in the U.S., New York has over 50,000 retired healthcare professionals signed up to volunteer too.
Celebrities have been doing their part too by donating to various organizations and people.
Kylie Jenner donated $1 million to LA hospitals; Rhianna donated $5 million to WHO, Feeding America and the International Rescue Committee; Ryan Reynolds and Steph Curry each donated $1 million to help those in need of meals.
Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande have also been helping their fans out by donating money to some of those in need, ranging $500-3,000 per fan. Britany Spears also helped some fans by paying for all of their groceries.
4. Yale’s positivity course
Yale’s most popular course happens to be one on positivity, and it’s offering the course online for free. It is the most popular class ever taught in Yale's 317-year history, and it was created after Professor Laurie Santos noticed concerning levels of student depression, anxiety and stress. This class can help bring some light into all of our lives, and the best news? No readings are required. All you have to do is sit back, put some earbuds in and listen to the lecture on how to truly be happier and live a more fulfilled life. Along with some other good news, this isn't the only college course being offered for free. Coursera, a U.S. online education company, is offering free access to its 3,800 courses.
5. Communities are coming together
In a big city, one thing you can count on to have in common with everyone else is that you’re spending much of this time alone. Communities have been coming together to show support for each other in this time of isolation and are embracing each other’s company.
In Italy and Miami, people are making the most of being in lockdown by having dance parties on their balconies.
In Copenhagen, citizens joined in unison to sing “You’ve Got A Friend” through their apartment windows.
The citizens of New York City and several cities in Spain and the UK broke out in applause for the hard work of medical staff and healthcare workers.
Especially in times like these, it's important to keep your head up. While reading the news stories that seem to get worse and worse each day, don't forget to also look at the good things that are still happening around us.