Thursday,  April 2, 2020  8:28 am

5 good news stories about COVID-19


5 good news stories about COVID-19
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and DailyXtra.ca. Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

As Canada continues to endure the social, political and economic impacts of COVID-19, good news is hard to come by these days.

We at PAX are committed to covering the COVID-19 pandemic as diligently as possible, providing readers with updates about the virus, and its impact on travel, as they happen.

These are unprecedented and extraordinary times and we recognize the personal and emotional impact each news day has on the hardworking people in our industry.

We hear you.

And so, for a moment, we’re switching things up, shedding light on some of the positive things that are happening in our world right now amid this terrible outbreak.

Here are five good news stories about COVID-19 that we can share with you today.

1. More than 111,800 people have recovered from COVID-19

Since January, the Centre for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland has been tracking the number of COVID-19 cases worldwide and displaying the statistics in real time on an interactive dashboard online. The data-based platform illustrates the location and number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, deaths and recoveries in all the affected countries. COVID-19 presents very serious health risks. However, most people recover from the virus on their own. As the Johns Hopkins dashboard shows, the number of recovered patients (111,800+) greatly outnumbers the number of deaths (19,600+). It's alarming, yet reassuring, data to keep in mind as the world endures a never-ending cycle of bad news.

2. Canada has a $82 billion-dollar plan to help households and businesses

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (CBC News)

The Government of Canada recently unveiled a plan to provide $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses, plus $55 billion in tax deferrals. Part of its COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, the $82 billion-dollar aid package aims to help Canadians cover expenses, such as rent and groceries, and help businesses continue to pay their employees and bills during this time of uncertainty. This week, select MPs have returned to the House of Commons to put the plan into motion and emergency legislation was passed on Wednesday. Of course, the money won’t fully recoup the overwhelming losses the travel industry is experiencing, but it’s something that Canadians can turn to.

3. Canadian scientists are making progress in COVID-19 research

From left: Dr. Robert Kozak, Dr. Samira Mubareka, Dr. Arinjay Banerjee (sunnybrook.ca)

A team of researchers at Sunnybrook, McMaster University and the University of Toronto have isolated severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the agent that is responsible for the COVID-19 outbreak. Thanks to what researchers call “nimble collaboration,” the team was able to culture the virus from two clinical specimens in a Level 3 containment facility. What this means is that the isolated virus will help researchers in Canada (and across the world) develop better diagnostic testing, treatments and vaccines, as well as a deeper understanding of other biological processes. Human trials of a potential vaccine for COVID-19 have also begun. All good news. 

4. Cases of COVID-19 are slowing down in Wuhan where the outbreak started

Reports of the new coronavirus first surfaced in Wuhan, China, in December. (CDC)

Reports of a new strain of coronavirus first surfaced in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. By early 2020, the most populous city in Central China quickly became known worldwide as the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak. Strict quarantining measures and lockdowns followed as Chinese health officials scrambled to contain the virus, which, eventually, spread globally. Now, new evidence suggests that Wuhan, once ground zero for COVID-19, has eased its curve of infections. According to reports, cases of COVID-19 have eased in Wuhan, and there's been fewer cases reported in Hubei province over the last two weeks. Newly-imported cases of the virus still persist in China's mainland, however. China will be lifting its lockdown on Wuhan on April 8th, suggesting that strict isolation practices do indeed help slow the spread of the coronavirus. It’s optimistic news about a pandemic that, in Canada, doesn’t seem to be letting up.  

5. People are helping others, restoring faith in humanity

As communities declare states of emergency, panic buying at grocery stores has become a real concern, leading many to wonder how the elderly and other vulnerable people would manage through it all. In response, many Canadian grocery stores (Longo's, Loblaws, Sobeys, Eataly and Nature's Emporium, to name a few) have implemented dedicated hours for those who may not be able to push through the crowds. There’s been stories of volunteers stepping forward to help seniors (and to help health care workers on the front lines) during times of need. Canada's airlines have devoted resources to flying home stranded Canadians (some doing it for free), and the Canadian government has unveiled a financial assistance program for Canadians abroad. Musicians are offering free music lessons for people in self-isolation. A Toronto-based distillery even started converting a portion of its vodka and gin operation to producing hand sanitizer for those in need. All this, alongside countless other examples, is proof that COVID-19 hasn’t killed the world’s ability to be kind.


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