The global COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted deep pain on society. Highly infectious, the novel coronavirus has spread to millions and forced us to practice social distancing, causing severe damage to communities and the economy.
With so many people hurting, it’s more important than ever for us to reach out to our communities. Safe volunteering and donations provide needed aid to those affected by COVID-19.
COVID-19 has touched all corners of society. The most direct result of the novel coronavirus is, of course, the high number of infected patients. As of press time, there are 9,156 confirmed cases in Georgia and 78 in Athens-Clarke County, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. The pandemic also has led to high unemployment and may force hospitals to ration care. This makes volunteering and donating more important than ever.
However, we can’t help like we normally would. In the aftermath of previous disasters, generous people have stepped up to help. After Hurricane Dorian, for example, some people went to the Bahamas to donate supplies, and some even opened their homes to evacuees. Their efforts served as powerful stories of our resiliency and common decency.
However, COVID-19 presents a different challenge. A large cluster of volunteers would only make the problem worse. This could sound discouraging to those who want to volunteer. A steady stream of depressing updates coupled needing to stay home could lead to feelings of helplessness.
Thankfully, there are still plenty of ways to get involved. Those in Athens can choose from options such as the Athens Area Homeless Shelter, Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center and Mask Making for Athens. For those not in Athens, there are likely similar or other organizations you can help.
Donating blood is also a great way to give back that is especially important now. Blood drives around the country were casualties of social distancing, and now there is a blood shortage. This is a huge problem. Although we’re focusing on stopping the COVID-19 pandemic, people still need blood transfusions.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has given blood centers recommendations to keep staff and donors as safe as possible. If you feel well and are comfortable with going out to donate, you can schedule an appointment to give blood with the American Red Cross.
It’s a scary time, and it will be for a while. As the crisis drags on, we’ll only see more hardship. However, we can all pitch in to alleviate that hardship. In a time of constant anxiety, that might be the best medicine of all.