No question the past few months have been DIFFICULT!
I mean, change is always hard, but we’ve collectively gone through A LOT of change in a short time. We’re constantly learning more about the virus (how it affects different people in different ways, how we spread it, how to treat people who have serious symptoms, etc.). For many of us, our circumstances have changed dramatically (our incomes may have taken a big hit, we’re spending more time with people we live with, we’ve cancelled events, vacations, and weddings, etc.). And we’re changing how we do regular, day-to-day things (washing our hands a lot more, visiting friends and family outside at a distance, grocery shopping less frequently, etc.).
These challenges can bring out the best in people, too! There are some incredible people working to fight the virus and help each other out. There are initiatives you can get involved in. There are a ton of ideas for things to do when you feel stuck at home. And, there are some pretty funny things circulating to keep our spirits up.
It’s these examples of the positive ways people are reacting to the pandemic that’s what this post is about.
If you are wondering:
- What we’ve learned over the summer about the novel coronavirus
- What we can all do to prevent the spread
- What we know about the virus
- Where do viruses come from and how they (and our immune system) works?
CLICK HERE to see the comprehensive post on the novel coronavirus that touches on all of these areas.
Examples of how this pandemic is bringing out the best in people
Personally, I’m very happy to see most companies and governments tell people to follow evidence-based public health guidelines and make accommodations so people can work from home and keep a roof over their heads. This is how we step up and help each other and continue as a society. Yes, we need even more of this right now. We’re all in this together. The more we can stop the spread the more we can safely open up our workplaces, businesses, and schools. I also think the pandemic is temporary, so we can get through this if we keep doing our best.
The past few days have emphasized even more that sometimes we have opportunities to pass through each other’s lives and make a difference along the way when most unexpected. Lift each other up; the smallest gestures of kindness can leave the biggest impacts!
— Natalie Panek (@nmpanek) March 17, 2020
- The Fluevog shoe company made a limited edition shoe based on Dr. Bonnie Henry (British Columbia’s Provincial Health Officer). All (100 percent) of their pre-sale proceeds were going to provincial food banks. The shoe was SO popular their site crashed!
- Coronavirus: Kind Canadians start ‘caremongering’ trend: BBC
— Josh Greenberg (@josh_greenberg) April 15, 2020
This past spring, medical students around the country took off clinical rotations due to #COVID, have set up babysitting networks to support essential hospital staff. People are being incredible humans, everywhere you turn.
— Esther Choo (@choo_ek) March 16, 2020
- A 99-year-old army veteran walked his yard 100 times to raise money and ended up raising £1.3 million
- How to keep the greater good in mind, by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley.
- Here’s how some small businesses have contributed to the pandemic response.
The more #COVID19AB drives shame, the harder it will be to prevent, as people will be less willing to be forthcoming about their symptoms, to be tested & to be honest w/ contact tracers about their activities. We need to fight shame with compassion. We are all in this together.
— Dr. Deena Hinshaw (@CMOH_Alberta) August 22, 2020
The pandemic has also reminded me of my personal heroes, all of whom contributed to the science of public health and epidemiology by how they discovered, managed, and prevented epidemics. Starting with Ignaz Semmelweis, the doctor who championed handwashing in the mid-1800s. Coincidentally enough, 150+ years later, handwashing is still a fantastic and simple way to prevent the spread of disease! 😄
Join me in donating to the Visions of Science Network for Learning to help them continue engaging low-income & marginalized Toronto-area youth in STEM & research.
— Leesa ‘soapy clean hands’ Klich 🇨🇦 (@LeesaKlich) June 2, 2020
Shoutout to some incredible people helping us all get through this pandemic
If there’s one thing that I turn to for hope right now, it’s this: medical researchers are some of the smartest and hardest working people on earth, and they’re all working together right now — past lines of partisanship, nationality, or anything else that often divides us.
— Max Fawcett (@maxfawcett) March 13, 2020
— Hannah Sharpe (@HannahRSharpe14) August 24, 2020
I eat alone in a small closet so I’m not around anyone when my mask is off. I shower in the hospital every shift. I don’t drink water so I don’t take off my mask. I rarely pee on my 12 hr shifts.
I wish people could see what front line workers are sacrificing so they can party.
— NurseKelsey (@nursekelsey) September 10, 2020
Nurses are superheroes. And ours make hundreds of calls a day to track contacts from COVID-19 cases to reduce the spread of the virus in our community. If they call you, please be nice…you’re talking to a superhero, after all 😉 #ContactTracingSavesLives pic.twitter.com/YXiklzqtD6
— Ottawa Public Health (@ottawahealth) August 20, 2020
- Medical students at McGill University created daily update of newly published studies on COVID-19. Here is their archive.
Be kind to your lab. I have never felt this level of anxiety. Micro labs are working many hours with little sleep and feel the weight of the world on their shoulders. We are bringing up testing AND fighting the system at the same time. #COVID19 #IDTwitter #WashYourHands
— UNC Clin Micro (@UNC_Clin_Micro) March 15, 2020
Shout out to all the infectious disease experts who are making time to speak to reporters, despite dealing with tests and patients and anxieties, and generously sharing cell and home phone numbers. I salute you and am so deeply grateful.
— Apoorva Mandavilli (@apoorva_nyc) March 13, 2020
A historic meeting yesterday of @LongCovidSOS and @WHO. Good step in the right direction and so much more to do to prevent, better treat, and understand the basis for #LongCovidhttps://t.co/iis8xGXr0P
by @bri_sacks @BuzzFeedScience
Good on @mvankerkhove and @DrTedros pic.twitter.com/g1eYKyggM5
— Eric Topol (@EricTopol) August 22, 2020
Fellow #Longhaulers: 2 Canadian universities are collaborating on research into the neurological effects of #COVID19. You can participate from anywhere in the world, doing the survey and tests online. #LongCovid https://t.co/lVv8lWmHsZ.
— Chandra Pasma (@ChandraPasma) August 30, 2020
Hey. @ishaberry2 and I are officially launching the COVID-19 Canada Open Data Working Group website today. We have some really exciting new #COVID19 #Canada projects we’d love to share with you. Thread.🧵⬇️ (1/18)https://t.co/8VKpGBAHwV pic.twitter.com/a9bkw1QGTe
— Jean-Paul R. Soucy (@JPSoucy) September 8, 2020
How to help out
Having all of these changes kinda “thrown at you” in the past few of months can feel very unempowering. I mean, staying home for the “spring lockdown” (except for essential groceries, medications, and appointments) was hard enough. Let alone missing work and/or school, having everyone you live with at home 24/7, cancelling vacations and get-togethers, etc.
This has all been an unwelcome huge lifestyle change.
Most areas have opened up to a certain degree (and we can now find toilet paper and hand sanitizer!), but there may be new rules, like maximum numbers of people, mask-wearing, or highly-not-recommended activities (like singing). Some areas have had (or will soon) close down again because their case numbers and community spread are rising exponentially again. ☹️
It’s not been easy and it’s not over yet.
Plus, the longer it continues, the more we’re feeling the need to resist it, even if we truly don’t want to spread the virus.
One way I’m dealing with this is by calling family more often and going for evening walks. I’ve also pivoted my work time away from clients who are “pausing” services and refocusing it on creating products (or enjoying the outdoors while I can).
Of course, there are so many ways we can help each other out as well. Your local food banks, farms, and/or charities may desperately need you. Checking on your neighbours (from 2m away) and picking up groceries for them may be extremely appreciated. Ordering takeout from your fav restaurants that can’t accommodate in-person seating can help your local economy.
Here are ways to help in Canada
- Wondering how to help with Canada’s COVID-19 effort? Here are some work and volunteer opportunities, plus ways to contribute essential products.
- Resources for researchers and clinicians fighting COVID-19 in Canada
Global opportunities to help
- Help COVID-19 researchers
- Become a citizen scientist by helping Cochrane in just a few minutes each day. (See their linked videos for more info.)
- See if your local food bank, Red Cross, or other charities need help.
Coronavirus misinformation is a pandemic (“infodemic”)
Having so much change in a short time—including the focus of media and social media—has created a ripe ground for the spread of misinformation. Some people are being really *creative* with the info they make and share. (Think: sciency sounding fiction). There are professionals out there making science fiction seem like actual science. Plus, with the amount of legit research being done and the media and social media attention to that research, there is a lot of misunderstanding and miscommunication.
All of this is rightfully leading to confusion.
Here’s a great article that outlines how and why changing recommendations due to new information is a GOOD thing (I mean, who wants to make decisions in September based on info from March???):
“Flips in advice are a sign that we know more, and that experts and institutions are responding to new information. In a fast-moving situation, advice that has been updated can in fact be more trustworthy.” Via @shanpalus#COVID19 #Coronavirus
https://t.co/wJ3uYgj3o5 via @slate
— Leesa ‘soapy clean hands’ Klich 🇨🇦 (@LeesaKlich) August 28, 2020
Here are some resources about the massive amounts of misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic:
- COVID-19 Crisis: Social Media vs. Scientific Research: Students for Best Evidence
- Amid Coronavirus Pandemic, Misinformation Puts Public Health at Risk: Thrive Global
- Challenge online behaviour: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
- ‘Fake news’ during an infectious disease epidemic could make the outbreak worse: National Institute for Health Research
- The truth about the coronavirus and the global war on truth: National Observer
- Researchers: Nearly Half Of Accounts Tweeting About Coronavirus Are Likely Bots: NPR
- How fake news is spread: Leesa Klich
- Grab my free eCourse to learn to spot fake health news (click on NOVEL for the free version)
In our course and book on @callin_bull, there some basic questions we always recommend that you ask.
Who is the person?
How does he or she know it?
What are they trying to sell you?
You may not be able to answer all of them, but you’ll probably get some insight by trying.
— Carl T. Bergstrom (@CT_Bergstrom) June 1, 2020
Regret not going to
Can’t get enough of Anthony Fauci?
Want to hear the wicked strong Eastern Mass accent that inspired Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting?
— Jonathan Sher (@SherOnHealth) August 31, 2020
Where to fact-check coronavirus information
fact check memes that make consequential claims before sharing
— Steak-umm (@steak_umm) August 25, 2020
Here are some trustworthy sites to double-check “facts” you see online and be sure they’re true before believing or sharing:
- Students at Ryerson University here in Toronto have set up a dashboard to watch out for and correct false and misleading information on COVID-19
- Fact check COVID-19 health claims here: iHealthFacts
- Check first. Share after.
- COVID19 Myths vs. Facts
- On Twitter, detect bots with Bot Sentinel
Here are a few things to do at home and outside
If you’re stuck at home, know that in most cases you can enjoy the outdoors with minimal risk of getting the virus.
— Leesa ‘soapy clean hands’ Klich (@LeesaKlich) June 5, 2020
- Stay in touch with family and friends! Give them a call or email them. Offer to grocery shop for your neighbours.
- Spend a few moments thanking those on the front lines right now: doctors, nurses, public health officials, hospital staff (including the cleaners and janitors), laboratory staff, support workers, scientists doing urgent research, teachers, etc. Maybe you can help them out, too?
Mr Rogers once said “When I was a boy & I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say, ‘Look for the helpers. You’ll always find people who are helping.'”
— Duncan McCue (@duncanmccue) March 28, 2020
- Go for a walk outside. Get fresh air and sunshine. Stretch your legs.
- 10 Ideas for Physical Distancing through Nature: Nature Canada
- Tips to maintain a healthy routine: Swineburn University of Technology
Working from home? Prolonged sitting can be harmful. Share this #infographic with guidance on how to work in comfort when seated, and tips to help get you out of your seat. https://t.co/U4fZUKUW3y #ergonomics pic.twitter.com/z404gwxDey
— CCOHS (@CCOHS) April 7, 2020
- Many libraries have ebooks, audiobooks, and online courses for you. Check your local library and see.
In Seville, Spain, residents of an entire apartment complex couldn’t leave their homes due to the quarantine.
So a fitness instructor went up to a rooftop and held a workout class.
Neighbors joined in from their windows and balconies.pic.twitter.com/Ez0iF7vwf3
— Muhammad Lila (@MuhammadLila) March 15, 2020
- Sing with your neighbours like these quarantined Italians via Vox
- Learn about the health effects of climate change with a free edX course via Harvard
- Take a virtual tour of these 12 museums and galleries, by Travel and Leisure
- Listen to science podcasts, recommended by Dr. Jacquelyn Gill, Associate Professor of Climate Change
- Re-create your cancelled cruise like this couple did
- YouTube channels about science and health for adults and kids
- Free online course: Fighting COVID-19 with Epidemiology: A Johns Hopkins Teach-Out
- Hacking Exercise for health for the latest in exercise science
- Check out Dr. Katharine Hayhoe’s YouTube channel: Global Weirding: Climate, Politics, and Religion
Quarantine day 6. pic.twitter.com/er652Oy3Ki
— jamie (@gnuman1979) March 16, 2020
Kid- and teen-friendly ideas to do at home
- How to talk to your kids about the novel coronavirus, interview with two experts from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
- Here are some age-appropriate COVID-19 info sheets for kids (and adults) in dozens of languages
- Some expert advice to kids from Canada’s Kids Help Phone (note the 24/7 support is only available in Canada, but your country or region may have a similar resource, so ask around and see if you can find it)
- Stay in touch with friends and family, go for a walk, colour, check your local library for downloadable resources, and find some quality (credible) YouTube channels
- Free online events from Canadian Science Centres
- Beam science, exploration, adventure, and conservation into your home classroom.
- Take a virtual tour of a Canadian farm!
- Google Earth Voyager has guided virtual tours of places around the world
- Writing classes for teens, by NYT Bestselling Author Kelly Yang
- Here’s a list of STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) educational resources and their links
STEM colouring pages
I didn’t put these in the adults or kid’s section because I’ve taken up colouring, so it’s for all ages! (STEM = Science Technology Engineering Math.)
- Download five women in STEM colouring pages, by Nina Chhita, Medical Writer
- Science is beautiful colouring pages, by Christine Liu, Neuroscience PhD student
- COVID-19 colouring book from the Biochemistry Department at UW Madison:
- Coronavirus colouring sheet from the Protein Data Bank:
Stay fit with online fitness classes
- Yoga with Amy (60-minute classes)
- Move with Mack’s at-home “fast and furious” workouts (for beginners to experts)
- Fitness blender has hundreds of free workout videos
- Free yoga videos from Adriene
- 💪🏻 How to preserve your muscle pass during the quarantine 👉🏻 5 tips by Dr. Stuart Phillips 🤸🏻♂️🥛
Stressed (and who’s not)?
- Free course created by a Psychology Professor here at U of T: Mind Control: Managing Your Mental Health During COVID-19
- Feeling anxious? Check out the free Mindshift App for evidence-based mental health relief
Free biz training courses
- Get your blog posts to rank higher in Google with the basic SEO course through Yoast (free for now)
- Learn how to blog for your business with this Ahrefs course that’s free right now.
Light-hearted humour about what we’ve been going through
- Why it’s called a pand(a)emic
- How one music teacher experienced the quick transition to online learning back in the spring
- Apocalypse outfit: Expectation vs reality
- Here’s one way to stop touching your face.
- Indiana Jones and the last toilet paper roll.
- What do to if you can’t cough in your elbow (#Comedy, not recommended).
- Let this cat show you how to physically distance yourself.
- Have you seen any of these?
- “Super bad transmittable contagious awful virus” song (my fav line: “We’re asymptomatic while it’s in incubation.”)
- A hilarious story of starting online elementary school (I laughed so hard I cried!):
The 2nd grade teacher’s screen froze. The kids all told her that happened. No one could hear her. And then she disappeared and mass chaos has broken out.
— Stephanie Lucianovic she/her🌪️ (@grubreport) September 9, 2020
Some “feel good” videos I recently came across
Guy’s security camera catches kid tearing it up on his driveway almost every day, so he decides to do something about it. pic.twitter.com/ZDVb7zLgZo
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) August 27, 2020
— Leesa ‘soapy clean hands’ Klich 🇨🇦 (@LeesaKlich) August 29, 2020
Things may feel like poo sometimes with all that’s going on with the pandemic. Behold, many people are doing amazing things and there is lots to do if you want to.
- For more information about the science and health impacts of the novel coronavirus, click here.
- Here’s some info on the impact of the pandemic on food: agriculture, restaurants, groceries, and home cooking.
Let’s leave with this thought:
This pandemic puts paid to the notion that there is no ‘such thing as society’.
We’re all intertwined, co-dependent + connected to each other.
Life is a web of relationships + that tapestry is the most precious part of life.
Hoping this will remind us of our human community.
— Francesca Martinez (@chessmartinez) March 13, 2020
Signing off and toasting: To the people making the best of the pandemic!
Over to you
Do you know of someone who is doing awesome things because of the pandemic? What other resources do you recommend? Feel free to share any other comedic or “feel good” links, too.
I’d love to know in the comments below!
Want a fairly constant flow of credible health information (and content marketing strategy)? Follow me on Twitter.
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Click on coupon code: NOVEL (as in the novel coronavirus).
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I'm Leesa Klich, MSc., R.H.N.
Health writer – Blogging expert – Research nerd.
I help health and wellness professionals build their authority with scientific health content. They want to stand out in the crowded, often unqualified, market of entrepreneurs. I help them establish trust with their audiences, add credibility to their services, and save them a ton of time so they don’t have to do the research or writing themselves. To work with me, click here.