December 2, 2020

Coronavirus: Creativity, kindness and canals offer hope amid outbreak

We appreciate that these are dark times for people around the world, as the coronavirus continues to spread. Numbers of infections and fatalities are rising, cities and even countries are shutting and many people are being forced into isolation. But amid all the worrying news, there have also been reasons to find hope.

1. Pollution drops
As countries go into lockdown over the virus, there have been significant drops in pollution levels.

Both China and northern Italy have recorded major falls in nitrogen dioxide – a serious air pollutant and powerful warming chemical – amid reduced industrial activity and car journeys.

Researchers in New York also told the BBC that early results showed carbon monoxide, mainly from cars, had been reduced by nearly 50% compared with last year.

And with airlines cancelling flights en masse and millions working from home, countries around the world are expected to follow this downward path.

You can read more about the drops in pollution levels here.

2. Canals go clear
On a similar note, residents of Venice have noticed a vast improvement in the water quality of the famous canals running through the city.

The streets of the popular tourist destination in northern Italy have emptied amid the outbreak leading to a drastic drop in water traffic, which has allowed sediment to settle.

The usually murky water has gone so clear that fish can even be seen.

3. Acts of kindness
There are plenty of stories of panic buying and fights over toilet roll and tins, but the virus has also spurred acts of kindness around the world.

Two New Yorkers amassed 1,300 volunteers in 72 hours to deliver groceries and medicine to elderly and vulnerable people in the city.

Facebook said hundreds of thousands of people in the UK had joined local support groups set up for the virus, while similar groups have been formed in Canada, sparking a trend there known as “caremongering”.

Supermarkets in Australia are among those to create a special “elderly hour” so older shoppers and those with disabilities have a chance to shop in peace.

People have also donated money, shared recipe and exercise ideas, sent uplifting messages to self-isolating elderly people and transformed businesses into food distribution centres.

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