5 Ways We Can ALL Limit the Social Impact of Coronavirus
COVID-19 is presenting unprecedented challenges to society on the whole. In the past few days alone we have seen numerous countries close their borders. Further to this, great economic implications of coronavirus are becoming apparent, with global stock markets taking large hits, oil prices plummeting and temporary shutdown of major retail stores. Just today, the closure of all UK schools as of this Friday was announced.
It goes without saying, then, that the impacts of COVID-19 are significant and wide-spread. It is thus vital to consider how each of us, as individuals, can limit the impact that COVID-19 has on our local communities and society as a whole.
1. Stop panic buying
It has been beyond shocking to walk into various supermarkets over the past week and see little to no toilet paper, pasta or basic medications on the shelves.
While the motives for panic buying are likely not malicious, the sad reality is that it leaves the vulnerable even more vulnerable. Elderly or disabled individuals who are unable to make it to the supermarkets frequently are unable to buy the essentials, and low-income individuals with long working hours can only make it to Tesco at 7pm, when much of the food has already been ransacked.
This isn’t fair. We must think of others when shopping in these upcoming weeks. Buy enough for our family and ourselves, and perhaps a small buffer beyond that, but don’t go overboard — we are fortunate that supermarket supply chains in Britain are highly unlikely to ever run out of essentials if we shop sensibly.
This falls under David Chan’s ‘Being Considerate’ of the 5Cs of beating the coronavirus outbreak — a good read on the importance of ‘psychological capital’ in these times.
2. Helping your local community
Now, arguably more than ever, we need to be a community.
It is vital over the coming weeks to months that we support each other, but particularly the vulnerable in our local communities and society as a whole. Here’s a few ideas of how you can do just that:
Reach out to your local community with the #viralkindness campaign
This campaign was launched by Becky Wass from Cornwall. It simply entails filling out a basic postcard (after you’ve washed your hands!) and distributing it to your neighbour’s letterbox, in turn offering your help if they are self-isolating in a non-intrusive manner.
- The template, pictured below, can be found here.
Join a mutual aid group
This, in a similar manner to the postcard method, involves offering practical support — purchasing shopping, offering phone calls or walking the dogs of those who are self-isolating.
- For more information on how you can get involved in mutual aid groups and/or how you can ask for assistance from individuals of said groups you can look here.
Reach out to your loved ones who are self-isolating through a phone call or video call
A simple phone call or FaceTime call can really make someone’s day. It is hard to imagine the effects COVID-19 and social distancing may have on an individual’s mental health, but the effects on loneliness, particularly in the elderly, are likely going to be great. It is therefore especially important now to reach out to family and friends who may be in such a position to show you’re supporting them during their isolation.
3. Volunteering at food banks or donating to them
Food banks are essential in supporting some of the most vulnerable in our society. As more people are made redundant from work, and indeed as less people are able to volunteer, the pressures on food banks will mount.
There are two main ways in which we can help food banks:
Volunteer to help.
Particularly now, as self-isolation levels rise, it is important that people are able to take the place of and/or assist current volunteers.
This is only advisable should you be fit and healthy, and thus is even more applicable to the likes of myself and other University students. After all, we may have a great deal of spare time over the next 3 months. Of course, follow the NHS and Public Health England guidelines on such matters before anything else.
- To volunteer at the Trussell Trust you can sign up here.
You can also donate — money or food.
It would be worth calling your local foodbank to ask what they are particularly in need of should you be thinking of donating food.
Should you wish to make any other financial donations, the Red Cross amongst many other excellent charities are greatly assisting the effort against COVID-19.
4. Donate blood
Certainly, in the US, there has been shortages of blood reserves due to difficulties with blood transport in the midst of COVID-19 fears.
Blood transfusions aren’t generally required for patients with COVID-19, but rather blood transfusions are primarily used to treat blood-based medical conditions such as anaemia and cancer but are also used in surgery/trauma medicine and to treat blood loss following childbirth. Shortages therefore do create issues, and so despite these unprecedented challenges it is important that we still try to contribute to this essential cause.
- For further information on how to donate blood, please see here.
5. Support local business
For reasons of social distancing and thus lack of custom, many businesses, particularly small, locally ran businesses are currently in the process of temporarily closing in the UK.
Others, however, have opted (until / if stricter measures are introduced) to stay open but with limited access. Any small custom (e.g purchasing a takeaway coffee) is supportive to both the small business and our economy on the whole in these financially difficult times. With 16.6 million people in the UK employed by small businesses, such support is essential for the livelihood of many.
While it could be argued said support is not in line with social distancing measures, I believe if we are sensible and vigilant then the net effect is positive. Of course, this could change if stricter lockdown measures are introduced.
Undoubtedly, COVID-19 is a huge problem, and it’s likely to get worse before it gets better, but it is one in which we must come together to tackle. On top of the pre-discussed pointers it is important to enact measures such as social distancing and proper hygiene should we wish to quickly and efficiently beat this outbreak.
Do also remember that the immune system is likely to be stronger when we are eating healthily, exercising regularly and have low stress levels. So, keep moral high, support your local communities and peers, and look after yourself.
Indeed, it is our unity as a support network for one another, alongside proper social distancing and hygiene measures, which will allow us to beat this pandemic.