Fortitude and Inspiration Amid a Global Pandemic

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The worldwide coronavirus pandemic has rattled countries far and wide, but it has also shown the resiliency and fortitude of everyday people. The North Star has gathered some photos from around the globe and our very own backyard to inspire our readers to stay strong in these difficult times.


We first head to Italy and Spain, which are the biggest hotspots of the virus in Europe. Italy quickly overtook China in the number of cases, with Spain sadly following closely behind. The pandemic has proven that the Italian and Spanish spirit is alive and well.

There are at least 119,000 recorded cases of coronavirus in Italy, with more than 14,000 deaths. The country was the first in Europe to go under full lockdown as the virus quickly spread in the North. But as stories of the chaos brought by the virus emerged, so did stories of the kindness shared by neighbors.

A person passes by some bags with food that were hanged on a wall of a street where several shop owners joined an initiative to give food to those in need, in a moment when many are short of money because of the coronavirus restrictions, in Rome, Friday, April 3, 2020. The writings read: "Everything is going to be all right" and "If you need it this is for you". (Mauro Scrobogna/LaPresse via AP)

Spain has also seen a surge of cases, with at least 117,000 cases of the virus confirmed and nearly 11,000 deaths recorded. In Madrid and Barcelona, videos show people clapping for healthcare workers every night at 8 p.m. as a show of thanks for all their hard work and sacrifice.

Health workers applaud as people react from their houses in support of the medical staff that are working on the COVID-19 virus outbreak at the Gregorio Maranon hospital in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, April 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)


If there’s one thing the pandemic has shown is the selflessness of everyday heroes. At the frontlines are the nation’s brave nurses, doctors, EMTs and health professionals who risk their lives in order to save those struck with the virus. That is particularly true in New York City, which quickly became the epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S. Nurses and doctors are not only working to save lives, but are doing so without the necessary protective gear. Some have taken to protesting the unsafe conditions in an effort to protect themselves and their patients.

A nurse demonstrates along with others outside the emergency entrance to Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx borough of New York Saturday, March 28, 2020, where some nurses say they don't have enough personal protective equipment and have forced to reuse theirs to treat coronavirus patients. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

In all major cities, homeless shelters, soup kitchens and other organizations are working to help one of the country’s most vulnerable populations: the homeless and underemployed. One such hero is Shirley Raines, the founder of Beauty 2 The Streetz, who has risked her own health to provide hand sanitizer and vitamin C packets to people living on Los Angeles’ Skid Row.

Shirley Raines and her Beauty 2 The Streets team. Raines and her team have been handing out supplies to people living on Skid Row amid the coronavirus pandemic (Shirley Raines, Instagram).

Coronavirus survivor Tiffany Pinckney is also paying it forward in the hopes of helping other patients survive coronavirus, according to The New York Post. The 39-year-old single mother from New York became one of the first donors in the U.S. of “convalescent plasma,” which doctors hope to use to treat patients sick with the virus.

Tiffany Pinckney poses for a portrait in the Harlem neighborhood of New York on April 1, 2020. After a period of quarantine at home separated from her children, she has recovered from COVID-19. Pinckney became one of the nations first donors of "convalescent plasma." Using the blood product is experimental but scientists hope it could help treat the seriously ill and plan to test if it might offer some protection against infection for those at high risk. (AP Photo/Marshall Ritzell)

Corporations and organizations small and large have stepped up to provide help to their communities and beyond. Several distilleries have turned their operations around to produce much needed hand sanitizer, while some garment companies have pledged to produce masks for healthcare workers.

Tanja Johnson of Woodbridge, Va., waits with plastic containers outside Falls Church Distillers in suburban Washington, where they are responding to the the coronavirus outbreak by converting its operation from making corn whiskey to making hand sanitizer, Friday, March 20, 2020, in Falls Church, Va. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The New England Patriots teamed up with Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to fly more than a million protective masks from China to aid health workers in the state after the federal government outbid Baker for supplies. Team owner Robert Kraft and his family purchased 1.4 millionN95 masks for Massachusetts and an additional 300,000 protective masks for New York state.

“This is the greatest country in the world,” Kraft told CNN. “It’s time for us to rally together and solve these kinds of issues.”

Palettes of N95 respirator masks are off-loaded from the New England Patriots football team's customized Boeing 767 jet on the tarmac, Thursday, April 2, 2020, at Boston Logan International Airport in Boston, after returning from China. The Kraft family deployed the Patriots' team plane to China to fetch more than 1 million masks for use by front-line health care workers to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. (Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via AP, Pool)

Words of Inspiration

Sometimes the smallest gestures can have the biggest impact on a community. Children in Mississippi are taking out their chalk to share messages of hope with their neighbors during the pandemic. Meanwhile, artists around the country are using their gifts to encourage people to practice social distancing, wash their hands and share kindness.

Lauren Vollor, left, 5, and her sister Anne Larkin Vollor, 8, chalk their driveway on in Meridin, Miss., Wednesday, March 25, 2020. Children in the neighborhoods are writing new messages each day for inspiration to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. (Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star via AP)
Momo Nikaido paints a mural that reads "wash hands, be kind," Wednesday, April 1, 2020, on boards over windows of the Capitol Lounge, which is owned by her father in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. Most stores and businesses in the area are closed or only offering take-out food as a result of the outbreak of the new coronavirus, and state-wide stay-at-home orders from government officials. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)


At the end of each story we publish about the coronavirus, we are now sharing the following information:

Coronavirus 411

Coronavirus, officially named SARS-CoV-2 but also known as COVID-19, is a novel virus that causes a number of respiratory illnesses, including lung lesions and pneumonia. The virus spreads easily from person to person through the air when a sick person breathes, talks, coughs or sneezes.

COVID-19, which originated in Wuhan, China, has spread to some 181 countries. More than 1,033,000 people around the world have become infected and more than 54,000 people have died. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a worldwide pandemic. President Donald Trump declared the COVID-19 outbreak a national emergency on March 13. Less than two weeks later, on March 26, the United States surpassed China in the number of COVID-19 cases.

Symptoms of COVID-19 can take between two to 14 days to appear. The CDC recommends calling your doctor if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop symptoms, including fever, cough and difficulty breathing. If you also experience persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse and bluish lips or face, seek medical attention immediately.

In order to keep yourself and others safe, be sure to wash your hands frequently, practice social distancing and avoid touching your face. The CDC is recommending that gatherings of 50 people or more be canceled for the next eight weeks. Click here for information on how to prepare for a quarantine.

About the Author

Nicole Rojas is a senior writer for The North Star. She has published in various publications, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas.