Positivity Prevails Amid the Pandemic

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The COVID-19 virus has spread like wildfire throughout the United States and the world, taking its victims quickly and with no mercy. Experts have been racing against the clock to reverse the virus’ devastating effects and “flatten the curve.” Social distancing, empty city streets, working from home, and wearing masks out in public has become the new normal, contrasting the usual busyness in heavily populated areas. The virus has not only affected people, but it has destroyed the economy. It is no surprise, then, that stores, restaurants, and other public places across the United States are empty, if not closed, until this issue resolves. In the midst of this pandemic, however, positivity and interconnectedness has resulted among the nation’s people who are supporting one another in this isolated and unprecedented time.

For most Americans, the living room provides a sense of comfort, a place to relax, and a place to play. Famous singer-songwriter Sir Elton John capitalized on this American staple and sought to bring comfort to the world in the form of music. Together, he and several artists, celebrities, and influencers partnered with iHeartRadio on March 29 to create a taped benefit event: The iHeartRadio Living Room Concert. Its goal was to raise money to donate to the countless individuals on the front lines who first come in contact with the virus and to protect the most vulnerable within the population. President John F. Kennedy so wisely once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” These words resonate with many today. Throughout the iHeartRadio performances, many of the stars like Elton John himself, Ellen DeGeneres, Demi Lovato, Russel Wilson, and more, encouraged viewers to support organizations such as Feeding America and First Responders Children’s Foundation. Sophomore Alessia Scala shared what she thought people of higher authority could do for America by sending their people a message: “They have the power to give us hope. They should reassure people that America will overcome this and rise stronger than before.”

With social distancing in effect, school districts nationwide have closed their doors past the April break; therefore, a new distance-learning policy has caused many parents to try and fill the role of their child’s educators. It is increasingly difficult with younger children who are still learning the basics of education, and introducing them to a new way of learning on such short notice has caused many parents stress. Students at the middle school and high school levels do not have much of a disadvantage because of more independence, and they are working with technology on a daily basis in their classes. However, teachers across America have been reaching out to show that they care about the well-being of their students digitally and in person, from a safe distance. Many schools have created video compilations of teachers and staff sharing their feelings on the closure and reassuring their students to keep working hard. Sophomore Sophia Sullivan commented on teachers in the face of the pandemic: “I think that it’s really sweet of them to spread positivity to their students in the tough circumstances we are all under at this time.” Videos of teachers driving by their school’s neighborhood with positive messages on their cars have gone viral. As soon as freshman Ryan Benvenuto heard about this, she commented, “I love the idea! It is just one way to enlighten everyone in knowing we are in this together no matter what.”

In times like these, people have to remember that fear cannot spread quicker than the virus; rather, love has to permeate the emptiness they are feeling at this time. During the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “We have nothing to fear except fear itself.” It is right in saying people with authority have a responsibility to support the citizens of their country. An idiom from a poem written by Robert Burns also applies to this pandemic: “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Despite plans being cancelled, lives turned upside down, and the world seeming to have no escape, the empathy for others remains solid and steadfast, like an anchor of a ship. The COVID-19 virus has caught the whole world by storm; however, the emerging positivity has matched it as an equally powerful force.