What the virus has taught us about the kindness of humanity

In difficult times, it is easy to get distracted by all the hard things that are going on. Yet it is in these difficult circumstances that we get to see the better side of humanity — the side that cares for those that are facing isolation, illness or difficult choices. This does not make the effects of the pandemic less difficult, but taking the time to celebrate these people for all the good that they do brings hope in the midst of tragedy. It calls attention to people in our society that are not always considered particularly heroic, but during this period of isolation, their contributions have been recognized and valued. 

It would be impossible to write an article on this topic without recognizing the work being done by healthcare workers around the globe. They battle a lack of basic medical supplies and protective equipment, yet they cover their faces with makeshift or reusable masks, wear goggles so tightly they develop bruises on their faces, walk into hospitals to care for those who are sick or dying, and try to do as much good as they possibly can. 

These healthcare professionals face overcrowded hospitals where they are overworked and often cannot go home to their families. Sonja Schwartzbach, a New Jersey nurse and doctoral student, started compiling anonymous responses from nurses talking about the condition of these hospitals. In these accounts, many of which she has discussed with the media, she reveals the horrible conditions that health care professionals work in to keep us safe and healthy. Their work should be recognized and celebrated even though many of us, thankfully, will not need to witness it first hand. 

Another important group of people are caregivers that work with older or immunocompromised individuals. These workers often quarantine from their families in order to continue to care for their patient’s physical needs. Yet, they still struggle to protect their own health and provide for the needs of their families in a time when many have lost their main source of income. 

And these are not the only people displaying human kindness. Many family members have begun to care for relatives who are most at risk by picking up their groceries and ensuring they stay safe and healthy. For those who are older and do not have a family to care for them, many churches are putting together packages with essential items and delivering them to their houses.

Essential workers are another group to note. They return to their jobs daily to ensure we have the food, cleaning supplies and equipment we need to continue to work from home and successfully quarantine. They clean and stock the shelves in stores, deliver food to our doors and ship packages of fulfilled orders, ensuring that we do not need to leave our houses. 

All of these people show human kindness every day, ensuring that everyone who can stay at home, does. In these difficult times, when it is so easy to get caught up in the pain of missed opportunities, increased social isolation or financial insecurity, it can be helpful to pause and look at those making our safety their top priority. These are the heroes of the coronavirus pandemic.