As the world remains mired in COVID-19 case counts and alarming updates, it’s hard to look past everyone’s grim newsfeeds. But opening our eyes wider to a bigger world that is, albeit slowly, starting to stand up should give us hope—or at least an easier day. ANCX will regularly gather positive developments in different corners of the globe to show that, in trying to move forward, we can confidently train our eyes upward.
COVID-19 numbers slow down in New Zealand
Prime minister Jacinda Arden says that she has “cautious optimism” on saying that New Zealand is “turning a corner,” even as her country has recorded its lowest number of new COVID-19 cases. A little over two weeks ago, New Zealand announced strict national lockdown guidelines, and started testing in record numbers soon after. The country’s early and decisive shutdown measures have been widely praised, and Arden’s leadership has been deemed as one to emulate all over the world. Just today, their government announced no more deaths and only 18 new cases, more than a 50 percent drop from their numbers last week.
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The Pope gives an inspiring message on Black Saturday
Speaking in the presence of only 30 congregants, Pope Francis preached hope to a COVID-19 stricken world during yesterday’s Easter Vigil at St. Peter’s Basilica. In his homily, he talked about the women of Jerusalem, who he says turned their pain and sorrow into faithful works. “This year we are experiencing, more than ever, the great silence of Holy Saturday,” the Catholic leader preached. “We can imagine ourselves in the position of the women on that day. They, like us, had before their eyes the drama of suffering, of an unexpected tragedy that happened all too suddenly. They had seen death and it weighed on their hearts.” But the women did not allow themselves to be paralyzed, the Pope taught, but made use of their time to prepare for their master’s return. “Tonight we acquire a fundamental right that can never be taken away from us: the right to hope. It is a new and living hope that comes from God,” he continues. “It is not mere optimism; it is not a pat on the back or an empty word of encouragement. It is a gift from heaven, which we could not have earned on our own.”
Queen Elizabeth II makes a rare televised speech
In only the fifth time she spoke outside of her annual Christmas Day speech, Queen Elizabeth II gave an inspiring message to her nation’s citizens to encourage them through the Coronavirus crisis. Broadcasting from Windsor Castle, the royal paid tribute to Britain’s National Health Service, saying she hopes in years to come “everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge. And those who come after us will say the Britons of this generation were as strong as any,” says the the 93-year-old monarch, who, along with the production crew, maintained social distancing rules during the recording. “The pride in who we are is not a part of our past, it defines our present and our future.”
Student designs masks that benefit deaf patients
Eastern Kentucky University student Ashley Lawrence recently designed a mask that would benefit patients of a particular demographic—the deaf community. The 21-year-old Deaf Education major knows that lip reading is an important factor for those without hearing, one that isn’t considered in most mask designs. Pointing out that facial expression is part of the grammar of sign language, Lawrence says the mask has a transparent rectangle so that the mouth so that the wearer is still protected while giving visibility to the patient. “We’re all panicking right now and so a lot of people are just not being thought of,” she says. “I felt like it was very important that, even at a time like this, people need to have that communication.”
Britain pledges money to help other countries
While dealing with its own COVID-19 situation, Great Britain pledged on Sunday 200 million pounds of USD 248 for efforts to slow down the virus in vulnerable countries. Its government will be funneling the funds to the United Nations, World Health Organization, and the like so that a second wave of infections may be prevented. United Nations’ agencies will get 130 million pounds of the amount while 65 million will be for the WHO. The Red Cross will get 50 million to help war-torn areas while the rest will go to organizations and charities.
Costume makers create scrubs for frontliners
Around 150 costume makers in the United Kingdom are banding together to create medical scrubs for healthcare workers. “We have the most phenomenal, world-class network of costume makers helping us,” says costume supervisor Dulcie Scott, who helped lead the efforts. Calling their initiative as Helping Dress Medics, Scott and the industry stalwarts she is working with has dressed actors for television shows and movies such as Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones to Star Wars and Doctor Who. Together they have made more than 6,000 sets of scrubs for medical frontliners.
Banner photo from REUTERS/Loren Elliott/File Photo