While the coronavirus has the whole world in its grip, a wave of solidarity is sweeping across Europe. Citizens across the continent are trying to contribute to protect the elderly and vulnerable from the virus. Here are the best examples of how Europeans overcome the current crisis with solidarity and unity.
On 11 February 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially gave the disease a name: COVID-19. By that time, the infection, known as coronavirus, had been present for over a month. Originating in China, the current hotspot is now Europe – but the virus is spreading worldwide as you can follow here.
The coronavirus is particularly dangerous for older people and for people with pre-existing conditions. While US President Donald Trump offers a German medical company large sums of money for exclusive and US-only access to a COVID-19 vaccine, Europe is taking a different path. A wave of solidarity has swept across Europe: Every citizen tries to contribute to protect the elderly and vulnerable from the virus.
And that´s, in fact, the only way to overcome the crisis. A pandemic like the coronavirus doesn´t discriminate. The virus doesn´t care where you live, how wealthy you are or what colour your skin is. All humans are equal to the pandemic. The virus doesn´t hold at borders, either. Thus, international solidarity seems to be the only chance to stop COVID-19.
Here are the best examples of solidarity winning big across Europe.
Music against coronavirus
Italy has had a bitter experience during the coronavirus pandemic. The country is currently the most affected: The hospitals are hopelessly overburdened and there is a notable shortage of staff to care for coronavirus patients. Italians are now sharing a message with the rest oft the world – by speaking to their selves from a few weeks ago:
Many European governments are enforcing tough measures: Public events are cancelled, shops are closed, curfews are imposed. The aim is to decelerate the spreading of the coronavirus in order to save capacity in the hospitals. Throughout the curfews imposed in Italy and Austria, in order to boost morale, neighbors sing together out of the homes they are confined to.
Italy. People locked inside turn to their windows and balconies singing so everyone feels less lonely. Here is #Naples singing “Abbracciame” (Hug me). #Coronavirus #CoronavirusUSA pic.twitter.com/DHVPvxbB8d
— Ryan Meilak (@rmeilak) March 13, 2020
Of course, partying must not be neglected either:
— Glen Archbold (@glenarchbold) March 15, 2020
Neighborly help to overcome coronavirus
In Vienna, the city has set up a special hotline to which particularly vulnerable people can turn. Via this service, people at risk can ask for help with food purchases or obtaining necessary medication. That way, the vulnerable don´t have to leave their houses. Aside from that, young Viennese privately hang notes in their stairwells offering help for the elderly. It seems the whole town is ready to help those who are in need.
Near Vienna, in the small Austrian city of Linz, a private Facebook group has been formed to provide help for the vulnerable. Only a few days after its foundation, more than 2,000 people willing to help are already members. They are organizing themselves to help the weakest in the city through the crisis.
An Austrian hobby pilot came up with something very special: He flew his plane a specific route over Austria, which resulted in his radar recording the writing “stay home”. The flight radar has recorded this extraordinary route here.
Art for free
To encourage people and give them relief throughout their domestic isolation, artists all over Europe are making their work available online and for free. Pianist Igor Levit, for example, plays a house concert every day at 7 pm, which he streams live on social media.
Heute Abend wieder. Hauskonzert. Twitter Livestream. 19:00 Uhr. Ich freue mich auf Euch.
Tonight at 7pm CET. House concert. Livestream here on Twitter. I am looking forward to all of you.
— Igor Levit (@igorpianist) March 15, 2020
The Digital Concert Hall of the Berliner Philharmonic has 600 archived concerts. From now on, they are available to everyone free of charge. The Vienna State Opera now also shows daily recordings of past performances – free of charge.
People from all over Europe are supporting and encouraging each other. Hashtags like #StayHome, #StayTheFHome or #StayHomeSaveLives have exploded – people are calling in thousands of tweets to stay at home to protect the vulnerable. Young people put the common good before their own interests: They stay at home to protect the elderly. Universities and schools are coming up with creative solutions to make teaching available online. Strangers support each other. The wave of solidarity is huge.
The response to coronavirus shows: People are moving closer together to overcome the crisis. It seems everybody knows that if they stick together, they can do anything. Solidarity wins big in Europe.
But there are also very practical tips emerging: A man shows all those who now suffer from lack of exercise at home how to quickly and easily make a treadmill:
— Kia Zolgharnain⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@Kiaz19) March 16, 2020
Screenshot: YouTube / VOA News