The coronavirus good news bulletin

It may feel like it’s the end of the world out there, but it’s not all bad news. Read these hopeful pandemic stories if you need a break from doom and gloom.

by Roisin Lanigan
14 April 2020, 1:19pm

Across the world, cases of coronavirus have nearly topped 2 million, and the pandemic shows no signs of slowing down in many places. Coupled with an unseasonably sunny long weekend shut indoors, it makes sense that for the millions of people under lockdown, ennui, boredom and frustration is well and truly setting in. It’s easy to let the news get you down, but it’s important to stay positive and protect your mental health just as much as your physical in our current pandemic. But things aren’t all bad. We’ve been keeping a close eye on everything to be cautiously optimistic about, and we’re here to share the good news with you all.

So close Twitter for a second and read this instead. Here are all the good things about coronavirus that you may have missed this week -- it just might help you get through the day.

Tiffany & Co donate $1 million to help fight COVID-19
As coronavirus cases in NYC continue to increase -- the numbers currently sit at over 100,000 -- one of the city’s most iconic brands has donated a cool $1 million to help fight the disease. The Tiffany & Co. Foundation announced last week that it was urgently allocating $750,000 to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization, powered by the UN Foundation and $250,000 to The New York Community Trust’s NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund. The jewellery brand also promised to match employee donations to any qualified nonprofit organization supporting COVID-19 relief, dollar for dollar.

“During this global health crisis, we must all be responsive to the urgent needs of our global communities,” Anisa Kamadoli Costa, the foundation’s chairman and president, said in a statement. “We are proud to support organizations providing immediate relief for communities impacted by COVID-19, including our hometown of New York.”

Rihanna donates over $2 million to domestic violence charities
While the authorities spread the message that home is the safest place for us in the midst of COVID-19, for many, it’s anything but. Domestic abuse charities have reported a huge surge in crisis calls as people are trapped at home with their abusers during lockdown. Rihanna has continued her philanthropic efforts to help fight the pandemic by donating over $2 million to the Mayor’s Fund for LA in aid of domestic abuse victims affected by the current lockdown. Created through the star’s Clara Lionel Foundation, which has also made huge efforts in vaccine production and charitable donations, the $2m will help provide shelter, meals and counselling for those who are displaced and at risk.

70 coronavirus vaccines are already in development
It seems that every other day there’s a news story about a new vaccine or treatment making headway in fighting COVID-19. While we still have sometime to wait for a successful vaccine to be introduced to the world (an accelerated timeline puts vaccine introduction at just under one year, which is incredibly fast by usual scientific standards), it’s heartening that across the world so many options are already underway. Late last week the WHO announced that no less than 70 coronavirus vaccines were currently in development globally. Even more positive news -- three of those 70 are already being tested in human trials. The furthest along the process is an experimental vaccine developed in Hong Kong, with another potential treatment currently entering its second phase of tests in Beijing. Two more vaccines in the US are also looking promising. It’s frustrating that we don’t know for sure if or when we can eradicate the virus, but given that animal testing usually precludes human tests and a vaccine takes on average 10-15 years in normal circumstances, these positive developments are really unprecedented. Science!

Mackintosh are creating nurses uniforms for the NHS
One of the main problems in handling epidemics of COVID-19 is a shortage of personal protective equipment for medics. Iconic British brand Mackintosh are joining the ranks of fashion houses helping to ease that shortage, with the announcement that they will be using their factories to create nurses smock tops for the NHS. Mackintosh had closed their factory -- in Nelson -- in keeping with social distancing regulations, but a team of staff have volunteered to keep working to produce the items. “To help support the valiant effort of our NHS front line workers. The amazing team in our Nelson factory have given over production to creating nurses uniforms,” Mackintosh said in a statement last week. “We want to champion such fortitude in these extreme times, and encourage everyone to do what they can to help our NHS: volunteer, stay home, raise awareness.”

“Sew up” online initiative is teaching us how to sew scrubs for medics
Also helping the PPE shortage is Sew up, a new website which helps teach people how to make scrubs for NHS workers. The volunteer run platform, hosted on both Instagram and Facebook, was created by young designers who want to open source patterns for scrubs, masks and other items of clothing needed for medics. The initiative provides a link to PDF instructions and basic scrubs patterns which can be recreated at home, as well as a supplier list for patterns and a list of hospitals and trusts accepting PPE donations. “It’s not just about supply, but also about morale,” designer Elliss Solomon said in an email. “This is a national drive to get everybody and anybody involved, from experienced sewers to ‘give-it-a-goers’.”

Net-a-Porter is using its delivery vehicles to support local charities
With millions of us stuck at home, orders of anything but essential items have plummeted. Yoox Net-A-Porter group is one of the companies turning that economic negative into a philanthropic positive, utilising its premier delivery service fleet to serve instead as “volunteered vehicles” for charities in Italy and Hong Kong. The vans will be used to deliver essential supplies to vulnerable communities, offering same-day delivery services but in a very different way. Like, the Italian Red Cross is not gonna deliver you a new pair of shoes, sorry.

Sadiq Khan launches an initiative to unite Londoners under lockdown
With the capital unrecognisably empty, the mayor of London has launched a new campaign to remind us that, while we might be separate, we’re not alone. #LondonTogether highlights the positive and inspiring way Londoners are supporting each other, inviting people to share stories of courage, kindness and generosity during the pandemic. To see the community spirit unfold is a beacon of light during these challenging times: from volunteers delivering supplies to vulnerable neighbours, checking in on those self-isolating to signing up as volunteers to support the NHS. The mayor has also launched the London Community Response, pledging £1 million to support community and voluntary organisations. “One aspect of life that never changes is the remarkable way Londoners pull together in a time of crisis,” Sadiq said in a statement. “When times are rough we see the very best of our city, and these extraordinary acts of charity and empathy show that our sense of community is not confined by walls. These acts of kindness can make a big difference, and if we stay home, look after one another and follow the advice of the experts, we will beat this virus in London, together.”

Manolo Blahnik introduces initiative to help our mental health in isolation
If, like us, you’re already sick looking at Netflix and YouTube, then Manolo Blahnik’s Smile initiative will be some welcome news. Designed to spread positivity and inspiration in trying times, the company has released a collection of Manolo sketches, stripped back to their outlines to be coloured in by bored self-isolating shoe fans. Launching this week on Manolo’s website, The Art of Colouring is an extremely chic take on those stress-reducing adult colouring books your mum keeps buying you for Christmas. You can also share your creations online using the hashtag #ManoloBlahnikSmiles, so the brand can spotlight creations on their social media. Cute!

Scientists say the pandemic is saving more lives than its taking
And finally, a bit of a bittersweet fact to end the bulletin. While it will be little comfort for any of us who have lost friends or loved ones to COVID-19 across the world, scientists have attempted to put the pandemic in perspective for anyone who is feeling overwhelmed by the daily numbers of infections and deaths. The pandemic, say a group of scientists in France and Hong Kong, has so far saved more lives than it has taken, thanks to a global reduction in harmful pollution as huge parts of the world shut down. NO2 reductions have decreased by as much as 30% in China, with CO2 dropping by 25% in the same region, and 6% worldwide. The WHO says that air pollution kills 4.6 million people every year, through asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, lung disease and respiratory allergies. By the scientists’ logic, even with a reported 3,158 deaths so far from COVID-19 in China, the reduction in air pollution saved at least 100,000 lives in the same period.

Sadiq Khan
Manolo Blahnik
Tiffany & Co.