No matter with whom we talk these days, we are bound to talk about COVID-19, aka the coronavirus. It’s on the news, it’s in our conversation, it’s constantly on our minds. Although the situation is starting to get better in South Korea, the crisis is still very serious in many Western countries. The immediate effects of this pandemic are quite well known: some people die, many people get sick, and many, many more people lose their jobs and have to stay home. Along with all this, we also see on the news how people are reacting to this pandemic. Although there has been several shocking cases of people acting in very selfish ways, there has also been people acting in very amazing ways.
Many people have shown the world that one does not need superpowers, like Superman or Wonder Woman, to act like heroes. Naturally, as many people have already said, all the people on the front line of this battle, risking their lives, are heroes. This includes not only people working in the medical field, but all people working in all kinds of essential services, such as people making it possible for people to get food and other essential things, people providing transportation and deliveries, and police officers on patrol to make sure that people abide by the guidelines of social distancing.
Moreover, there has also been some amazing people who, although their profession didn’t require them to be heroes, found a way to become heroes – not because of professional duty, but because of their compassion. These people could not just wait for the crisis to be over; they felt the need to do something to help make other people’s lives better. Some examples of this include hotels offering free rooms to medical staff (to allow them to rest, and also to limit the risk for these people to contaminate their family by going home), people offering to do older people’s shopping, people preparing and delivering meals for people who lost their income, etc.
Then, helping got bigger. In order to facilitate the efforts of people who wanted to help others, some people in Toronto, Canada, came up with the idea of using social networking sites: they started the #caremongering movement. The word “caremongering” comes from “scaremongering,” a word used to describe the spreading of content that promotes fear and anger on social networking sites. “Scaremongering is a big problem,” Valentina Harper tells the BBC. “We wanted to switch that around and get people to connect on a positive level, to connect with each other” (cited in Gerken). The original Toronto group on Facebook, which was started on 12th March, has now more than 20,000 members, and it is still growing. Not only that, the movement has since got much wider; there are now almost a hundred caremongering groups on Facebook – with one of the latest in India.
There is still lots of unknown regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone is wondering how long it will take to get back to “normal” and how bad the world economy will get. Worrying about the situation or complaining about it will not help. Instead, we need to look for what we can do to help. And if you cannot do anything to help fight the pandemic itself, maybe you can do something to make the situation more bearable for others. It doesn’t have to be the stuff of hero; just calling someone who is alone and talk to her or him would already make a positive difference. Ultimately, if everyone does a little something, it will become a big thing – just like #caremongering, which began with the idea of connecting people who need help with people who can help, became an international movement.
Gerken, T. (2020, March 16). Coronavirus: Kind Canadians start 'caremongering' trend. BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-uscanada-51915723