A Dose of Happy News

Coronavirus crisis brings out the good in people

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, people have been working hard to help others deal with the crisis and lift the spirits of their communities. MassLive reports that on April 1, the New England Patriots’ plane departed to Shenzhen, China to pick up 1.2 million face masks, brought them back to Boston the next day, and donated 300,000 of the masks to New York. On April 7, Brigham & Women’s Hospital donated a COVID-19 testing booth to the NYU Langone Center. The device protects frontline clinicians and conserves personal protective equipment. In addition, according to NBC Boston, on April 12, an anonymous donor bought $5,000 worth of gift cards to pay for shoppers during the “seniors only hours” from  6 to 7:30 am at a Provincetown Stop & Shop. One customer had been relying on government assistance for food and could not stop crying after finding out about the donation. 

Across the country, people are also using music as a way to appreciate essential workers. Surgeon Elvis Francois is releasing his first EP and will be donating all proceeds to The Center of Disaster Philanthropy COVID-19 Response Fund. In San Marco, CA, over 70 kids joined online to sing “What the World Needs Now is Love,” in a tribute to everyone still working during the pandemic. New Yorkers have also been singing “New York, New York” after clapping nightly at 7 pm to salute their medical workers. In Boston’s Back Bay and South End, people have once again been singing from their balconies or blasting music from speakers every night to boost declining morale in their neighborhoods. These contributions ultimately exemplify the unification of our country and how this pandemic teaches us what is truly valuable. 

Neighborhoods organize teddy bear hunts to keep kids distracted

Burdened with the dullness of the indoors, children around the world are suffering from quarantine boredom. Without playdates on the weekends, weekly trips to the park, or the casual “hide n’ go seek” with friends, young children are forced to confront the unfamiliarity and frustration of social-distancing. At the beginning of quarantine, many kids spent their days binge-watching Curious George or ordering take-out as an easy meal ticket. The term “shelter in place” still had some fascination and hint of adventurism. Although the shine has truly worn off, there is still room for hope and optimism. Stuffed animals began appearing in windows around the world in “Teddy Bear Hunts” for children. 

This activity has united neighborhoods and given children an exciting distraction from the current crisis. According to USA Today, these hunts are said to be inspired by Michael Rosen’s 1989 children’s book “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt,” which opens with the lines, “We’re going on a bear hunt/We’re going to catch a big one/What a beautiful day!/We’re not scared.” With cute, lovable bears peeking over window sills, a new light shines over these neighborhoods, restoring excitement to the lives of many young children.

NY adoption centers are running out of cats and dogs

Out of all the shortages we have endured during this pandemic – toilet paper rolls, hand sanitizer, or Clorox wipes – the most heartwarming one has to be dogs. In one of the United States’ epicenters for coronavirus, New York, there has been a drastic increase in the adoption of pets. The desire for these animal companions extends beyond New York, even through the heart of Boston. The explanation for this trend is as uplifting as the animals themselves. Both children and adults need a close friend to keep them company. Pets, especially dogs, give people a reason to spend more time in the fresh outdoors and to keep hope and a sense of reassurance during this crisis. Muddy Paws Rescue and Best Friends Animal Society are reporting that many NY animal shelters have had all or almost all cats and dogs adopted after a surge in applications. Despite any past hesitations, many families are now searching for new pets to stay occupied and to have someone close by their side. 

White-tailed eagles are reappearing in England

White-tailed eagles have not been spotted flying over England for 240 years and went extinct as a breeding species in the early nineteenth century as a result of illegal hunting. A project by Forestry England and the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation, however, is inspiring renewed hope for the UK’s largest bird of prey. Last August, six eaglets were released on the Isle of Wight to kick off a five-year plan to reintroduce the species. They were carefully monitored and fed to ensure they would be strong and healthy, and now they have been released, with feeding sites set up to encourage them to settle along the south coast. 

The Foundation is asking people to record sightings of these eagles using their online reporting form. Saving the white-tailed eagle can not only help the local environment but also the economy. Dennis describes them as a “flagship species for wetland and coastal conservation” that are capable of bringing attention to the conservation of these places and helping other endangered species in those areas. It has been shown in Scotland that the eagles could boost the Isle of Wight’s economy, especially in the winter, due to eagle tourism. Additionally, the conservation of both natural habitats and vulnerable species is becoming a reality through this project.