Happy hour: positive news on April 30th

Positive news during corona, on April 30th

We are inching closer and closer towards reopening after weeks of lockdown (weeks? Months? Years? Who knows at this point). Through all this time, the onslaught of unnerving news has been unrelenting. Many of us have gotten used to the doom and gloom—and have found ways to shut it out. But believe it or not, amidst all the chaos there are still stories of hope, happiness, and adaptation. So by all means, take a much needed break from the news, and get your dose of positivity here.


1. Big firms say crowded offices will be ‘thing of the past’

Gotten used to flexible working hours and your living room office set up? Not missing crowded trains and hectic rush hours? Well some of these things may be here to stay post-lockdown, WPP and Barclays bosses say. Chief Executive of Barclays Jes Staley said they’d be looking towards a de-centralised approach to incorporate distancing and keep people healthy. “I think the notion of putting 7,000 people in a building may be a thing of the past, and we will find ways to operate with more distancing over a much longer period of time.”

2. New Zealand government promises £25 million to media businesses

The media industry in New Zealand was hit hard by the coronavirus lockdown and will receive a £25 million cash injection to get them back on its feet. It has become the third sector to receive support— after health and aviation—in New Zealand. The Kiwi government has highlighted how important the media is in keeping people up to date throughout the lockdown. “This support reflects the essential role media play at this time in delivering access to reliable and up to date news coverage and keeping New Zealanders connected while in lockdown,” communications minister Kris Faafoi said.

3. Cleaner air in Europe due to lockdown ‘leads to 11,000 fewer deaths’

Every cloud has a silver lining—while the lockdown may be inhibiting our lives, the halt on industrial emissions and air traffic have led to cleaner air. And that has a staggering impact on health, according to the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air: 11,000 fewer deaths, 1.3 million fewer days of work absence, 6,000 fewer children developing asthma, 1,900 less ER visits and 600 fewer premature births. The impact on health is a stark example of how air pollution on its own contributes to the strain on the NHS in normal times. So by all means, wash your hands and stay home, but open those windows, and breathe in that fresh air!

And of course, a few notes of positivity from our local heroes…

  • Ballet dancers perform in Amsterdam’s empty streets

Dutch ballet dancers have put a bit of magic into Amsterdam’s empty streets—performing choreography inspired by their experience in lockdown. They strutted their stuff in front of some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, many of which would rarely be seen empty in normal times. “Even if we are in this weird situation we are still moving and we are still trying to get to the audience. I think art right now is really important for everyone,” a dancer said. You can catch their performances in early May, when it will be released online under the name Gently Quiet.

  • The Gruffalo illustrator releases children’s book explaining coronavirus pandemic to kids

Axel Scheffler’s drawings are quickly recognized by children across the UK for his work on Jlia Donaldson’s The Gruffalo, and he’s put his iconic skills to work in order to explain the coronavirus pandemic to young children. Scheffler had the idea after speaking to an East London head teacher, who said many parents felt helpless about how to discuss the outbreak with their kids. The book takes advice from child psychologists and a professor of hygiene, and explains changes, from why parents might be stressed about working from home to how you catch the virus. You can download it here.

Photo: WTTJ

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Madeleine Crean

Journalist

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