2020-04-20
Jernej Furman/Flickr

The novel coronavirus has invaded every part of our country without restraint. It’s crossed countless borders all over the world leading to a global lockdown. It has harmed half a million individuals in its path. It fails to discriminate people based on their status, wealth, age or citizenship. No one is immune from being hurt by the illness.

Due to this, the world has had to make drastic choices to keep people safe. Humans are naturally social creatures, but we have been instructed to stay at home, resist going outside, and to not see our friends and family. While as a community we are so separated from each other, the COVID-19 crisis is also revealing how much compassion and empathy the world has for each other. We are lifting each other up in a time where we have to stay distant. Here are some of the lessons COVID-19 has taught us about unity.

We are in this together.

Many citizens of a world in peril have shone beacons of light. People are standing together in spirit even as they cannot do so physically. Isolated from each other, they reaffirm the resiliency of the human spirit by singing and chanting and applauding from balconies, through windows and on rooftops. The comfort, support and hope these acts of shared humanity engender are as infectious as the virus, as life-affirming as COVID-19 is deadly. They are sending the world a message: "We are united in this battle. We are strong. We are human." These acts have been on huge scales, with worldwide celebrities taking to social media to bring people together. It also has happened in the smallest of towns, where citizens are hanging art outside of hospitals encouraging their hardworking nurses and doctors. The message is certainly clear: no one is alone.

We all have a duty to our society.

At times we struggle to want to follow the stay at home orders. When it's a nice day outside, we yearn to go to the beach and enjoy a normal day outside. Yet as a society we are overcoming the annoyance we might feel to do what is best for society. We are instead staying connected online, by using Facebook to video chat with our families down the street. Young adults are hosting virtual happy hours, and music artists are playing on livestreams. Churches are still holding sermons online and encouraging those to spread the Word of God. By communicating and entertaining via these routes, we are protecting those who are most at risk for the coronavirus. It has become the common duty for all non-essential employees, and those who do have to work are thanking those who follow the orders immensely. This is a group effort to defeat the virus, and is much bigger than ourselves.

We all can show support.

One question you might start hearing people ask more often is "how can I help?" Hospital staff, police, and all essential employees are slaving away each day to try and get our communities through this pandemic. Some still have to worry about where their children will be during the day since they can't go to school, or how they will get to their next meal. Communities all over the nation are stepping up to help during this time, with restaurants donating food to groups of exhausted nurses or daycares staying open for essential employees. Some gas stations are offering free gas to those who still have to go to work, while others are doing their part by simply staying at home. There is not a single one of us who is not affected negatively by the coronavirus. Rather than bash about "who has it worse", communities are showing their support to various groups of people in monumental ways. It's become inspiring.

Our unity doesn't have to go away.

We want desperately to feel good again, to get back to the routines of life, to not lie in bed at night wondering how we’re going to afford our rent and bills, to not wake to an endless scroll of human tragedy on our phones, to have a cup of perfectly brewed coffee and simply leave the house for work. However the previous normal our society was chugging along with wasn't exactly perfect. The COVID-19 pandemic is exposing the nasty underside of our society: how broken our healthcare system is, how fragile small businesses are, how hard it is for many to trust our government, and how horribly our world was being affected by pollution. Rather than turn our backs on these problems, we should continue to stay unified after this pandemic and help increase everyone's quality of life. We as a nation have deeply disturbing problems, but they no longer have to be ignored.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how we go about our daily lives. It has caused us to go against our very nature to socialize and instead stay confined to our homes in hopes that the virus will soon pass. While we feel so far apart from others, this dark time in the world has proven to also be one of great unity. We all are coming together to get through this.

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