As important as following the daily reports on the global situation during this pandemic, we must also note the value of positive feedback during what is for many of us an extreme moment in our history. So many of us are experiencing waves of anxiety, confusion and even fear for our current situation as well as the future, so it brings a welcomed sense of clarity, faith in humanity and hope when we hear good news from all over the planet.
So without further ado, I bring you this week’s GOOD NEWS!
We start with the situation in Spain, where Bright has it’s headquarters.
Last week saw Spain go ‘back to work’ in some sectors. Those who can work ‘behind closed doors’, construction and factory workers, as well as gardeners and those who can practice social distancing were permitted to return to work, under strict guidelines, but back to work nonetheless. After mounting criticism the government agreed to let children under the age of 12 out of their homes for a limited period each day for play and exercise starting from April 26. These are small, but very positive shifts for the country. Addressing parliament in Madrid yesterday (April 22nd), the prime minister asked for the state of emergency to be extended for a third time by an additional two weeks, saying that Spain could then hopefully begin to ease its restrictions in the second half of May. The death rate in Spain has stayed below 500 for the last week and daily new confirmed cases are still dropping.
We all know that nature has breathed a sigh of relief during the huge reduction in human impact on the environment, but seeing the wild boar grazing on a usually busy roundabout’s grass, dolphins swimming in to a port to check out the boats, deer roaming the streets, is truly a phenomenon of this time. Seeing views from places that previously were restricted by a barrier of smog, and pandas mating in captivity now that they have privacy, all bring us messages of hope and good feeling, that this isn’t a complete disaster after all!
This week ducks have been sighted strolling the streets of Paris, mountain goats taking a welcome break from the mountains were spotted grazing in Cemisgezek, a city in Turkey, and their Welsh cousins hanging out in the town of Llandudno. Deer have taken to local grass since residents are no longer frequenting the streets of London.
Yesterday, April 22nd, was the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. This was an amazing way to celebrate the day, sadly due to extreme and terrible circumstances, but the most positive environmentally since the concept was created in 1970.
On a positive note for bulls in Spain, the Pamplona bull run (as well as all others nationwide) are cancelled this year.
You’ve probably all heard of Captain Tom Moore, a war veteran from the UK, by now. He pledged to walk, supported by his walking frame, around his own garden 100 times to raise funds for the NHS. A simple gesture which was quite an undertaking for such an elderly and physically limited man, has caused a huge stir in the hearts of the world. The mission has so far raised almost 28 MILLION British pounds, an unbelievable achievement which has also gone on to inspire, help, and bring a ray of hope to so many people.
- The recorded daily death toll worldwide has dropped dramatically since last week going from over 10,000 down to just over 5,500.
- For the first time since the beginning of the outbreak Italy are reporting that they have a drop in the number of infected people.
- In New York, where the worst death toll has been recorded, the death rate has reached a plateau due to strict controls over the state.
LOVE AND MARRIAGE
People with planned wedding dates that fall during the time of lockdown have been attempting not to let the disappointment get to them by celebrating ‘mock weddings’ from within their homes, in anticipation of carrying out their actual marriages when this has passed. Humour and love keeping the “should be weds” in good spirits.
British artist Damien Hirst is giving away a free download to his latest creation (above) which is to show support for the NHS. The work, titled Butterfly Rainbow, is made up of bands of coloured butterfly wings, one of the artist’s best‐known motifs. The artist said: “I wanted to do something to pay tribute to the wonderful work NHS staff are doing in hospitals around the country. The rainbow is a sign of hope and I think it is brilliant that parents and children are creating their own version and putting them up in the windows of their homes.” The rainbow inspired painting is designed as a ‘feel good’ picture for the public during this emotional and difficult moment. “There’s a lot of anxiety… and I think art can hopefully lift you out of that,” said Hirst as he released two new coronavirus inspired paintings. One is set to raise money to fund aid for the virus and the other is simply to raise spirits! Download your free Butterfly Rainbow here.
Doctors having to wear full protective clothing felt concerns as to their bedside manner being restricted as patients were unable to see their faces. Limiting body language and emotion due to masked healthcare workers was altered a little as doctors around the world started wearing photographs of themselves smiling on their overalls to show what they really look like in an attempt to reassure and ease the discomfort of patients.
The Office (US) actor John Krasinski set up a YouTube video diary offering up good news for all to see and share. Steve Carrell, Brad Pitt and Billie Eilish are a few of the celebrities to feature in the positive action. Follow the ‘Some Good News’ channel here for some heartfelt humour and entertainment with global good news clips coming to you. Brad Pitt even gives an interesting weather forecast!
In the UK people who are permitted to leave the house to exercise once per day are doing so to raise money for charity. The scheme, Run for Heroes, asks for volunteers to donate five pounds and run five kilometres, they must then nominate five people to continue the challenge. An achievement which has so far raised approximately 75,000 pounds for NHS support.
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In the US burger company Shake Shack is returning a $10 million loan it received from the US government to help pay wages and bills during the pandemic. The company said in a statement that it was “fortunate to have access to capital that others do not”.
In the Netherlands, healthcare workers are to receive cash bonuses to recognise their efforts in fighting coronavirus. Dutch finance minister Wopke Hoekstra said that …”while it’s nice to see people recognising the efforts of doctors and nurses fighting to save lives, gratitude must be expressed in a more tangible way, not just in the form of applause”. Nice to see some governments are thinking straight!
The BBC are offering support for children learning from home by way of inviting celebrity guest teachers, and experts, such as David Attenborough (geography) and Professor Brian Cox (science) to offer lessons online. Footballer Sergio Ageuro is also teaching kids how to count in Spanish. Launched on the day children were due to return to school, the programme offers 14 weeks of curriculum-based learning and is the biggest education offering in the BBC’s history.
Fernando Montaño has danced with the Royal Ballet since 2004 after growing up in poverty in Colombia. Now that public performances are mostly postponed, he’s giving dance classes on Instagram from his house in Los Angeles. Learn the cumbia and mapalé dance styles, as well as ballet, or just watch his amazing performances!
If your loved one were suffering with cancer through this crisis and was hospital-bound and no visiting were permitted, you may follow in the footsteps of Albert Connor from Texas, by positioning yourself within view from their window, rain or shine, with banners reading “I can’t be with you, but I am here with you”, and “Thank you to all the staff!”.
Lady Gaga organised a huge ‘concert’ featuring some major players in the music business which was streamed live last week on 18th April. One World: Together at Home was the name of the event backed by Global Citizen and featured hours of online entertainment from many of the greats such as Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Annie Lennox, and big names like Jennifer Lopez, Sheryl Crow, Jack Johnson, John Legend, Ellie Goulding and so many more. The concert was hosted by Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel and there were snippets of speeches by famous celebrities as well as interviews with health care workers. In total the live stream ran for almost eight hours and was watched by over 24 million people. You can still watch it all on YouTube – here’s Lady Gaga’s introduction “Smile”:
Rihanna has now donated approximately $7 million to helping those affected by the coronavirus.
Princess Sofia of Sweden has been volunteering at the hospital in Stockholm to do her part to support the staff there.
In Sydney the government have ruled that mental health is a huge issue for its residents during lockdown and have opted to reopen three of its beaches for exercise purposes only. Social distancing and restrictions must still be applied in Coogee, Clovelly and Maroubra, and the beaches are being monitored, but the positive gain from being able to run, walk, surf, swim or simply get some fresh ocean air is priceless. Bondi, Tamarama and Bronte beaches are hoping to follow suit on Tuesday April 28.
The UK has announced that vaccine trials will begin on Thursday by a team from the University of Oxford.
Germany is to begin clinical trials of a new corona vaccine on humans by the end of April, involving some 200 volunteers aged 18 to 55 who will be tested with variants of the drug, developed by US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German company BioNTech.
BEATING THE ODDS
Carrie Pollock, a 99-year-old woman from Portsmouth, UK, is now recovering at home after being admitted to hospital with coronavirus. She tested positive in early March after she was admitted to the Queen Alexandra Hospital with hallucinations and suspected pneumonia. Carrie is now back at home in Hayling Island with her family and says she’s feeling “much better”. See the full article on the BBC website.
Connie Titchen, a 106-year-old great grandmother, is thought to be Britain’s oldest patient to recover from coronavirus. Staff from Birmingham City Hospital formed a guard of honour for Connie as she left hospital after battling the virus for nearly 3 weeks. Watch the video on The BBC website.
Our Favourite quote for this week:
Staying positive doesn’t mean you have to be happy all the time. It means that even on hard days you know that there are better ones coming.
Stay healthy, stay home and stay tuned for more GOOD NEWS next week.