COVID-19 is hurting some more than others. We’ve all heard that those with compromised immunes systems (asthma, diabetes, heart disease), and the elderly are more at risk of becoming severely ill with the virus. On top of this, more and more we’re starting to see the economic fallout of much of the planet not going in to work. First we saw the food and hospitality industry hit particularly hard as large groups were banned, then airlines began to feel it as people started taking self-isolation more seriously and eliminated travel. Now we’re starting to see the ripples across most all other industries.
So this situation has a lot of people wondering how they can help. Here are a few suggestions.
1. Get Informed
First things first, get informed. Quite simply, knowledge is power, and the more you know about what’s happening in the world the easier it is to stay calm and help. As COVID-19 progresses, the medical community is quickly developing a strong understanding of the virus, how it works, and how it’s transmitted. For example, this videoconference with Dr. David Price of Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York (for the time being treating exclusively COVID-19 patients) gives valuable info on the virus:
- The vast majority of cases are transmitted via hand to face contact. In only very rare cases is the virus transmitted through the air (i.e. 15 – 30 minutes in a small room with a known carrier coughing).
- Don’t buy masks unless you have the virus.
- We may be practicing social distancing for 3 months, 6 months, or up to a year.
Access to critical information (and not being duped by attention seeking headlines) is the quickest route to your own peace of mind, but more importantly stopping the spread of the disease.
2. Do What You Do Best
When it comes to helping out, it may very well be the case that your professional skillset is much-needed. Before you start donating to food banks (which, yes, do that), volunteer your skills where they’re needed most. Are you an employment lawyer that can help field questions from the many people who have recently found themselves out of work, or mistreated by an employer in time of crisis? Do you have manufacturing capabilities to build much needed supplies? Can you offer a product or service for free that might be otherwise unaffordable for someone going through hard times? This is the type of mindset to take when it comes to your business, even if you can only help in some small way.
3. Give Blood
On March 12th, Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research issued a plea for people to continue to donate blood. For some time the rate of donation dropped significantly as fear over COVID-19 prevented people from scheduling appointments. During the drop in appointments we faced a risk of postponing surgeries and denying blood to those who need it. Pater Marks makes it clear that donation centers are still fully operational. Donation rates have since recovered, but the need for continued donation remains very real.
With such widespread economic implications from COVID-19, there are many places gladly taking donations to help. But before you start sending money out left and right, take a moment to make sure the organization you’re donating to is credible. There’s a great New York Times article with how to get money to areas of critical need:
- Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund: supports the World Health Organization to support global healthcare workers.
- CDC Emergency Response Fund: supports US healthcare works
- Feeding America: supports local food banks respond
- No Kid Hungry: supports food banks communication with families
- The Seattle Foundation: supports small business in Washington State
Each city has different small business support funds, for the rest Google your city for geo specific donation opportunities.
5. Patronize Restaurants
To support restaurant/bar workers who have suddenly hit hard times, remember that most restaurants are still open and serving takeout. Don’t forget about your favorite neighborhood spot, they may still be open! Get out as much as you can to ensure that your favorite small businesses are still around when we finally come out of our social distance caves.