Solidarity and community spirit in the time of coronavirus
Fundraising initiatives, volunteering, and daily rounds of applause show people’s best sides in these trying times
The coronavirus crisis is one that nobody in Catalonia can escape from. From medical workers fighting on the front line against the disease in a healthcare system that politicians warn is close to collapsing, to people who have lost their jobs as a result of paused economic activity across the country, and of course the countless people who have lost their lives and loved ones as a result of the pandemic.
But amid the continuous stream of devastating headlines, there are reasons for hope, and examples of solidarity in the country is enough to make any resident proud of their community.
Each evening at 8pm, applause rings out from every home in Catalonia and the rest of Spain. The initiative began in the early stages of the home-confinement, and is aimed at showing the appreciation everybody has for the healthcare workers who are putting in incredible levels of hard work and putting their own health at risk to fight against the covid-19 crisis.
Thousands of the already confirmed cases of coronavirus are healthcare workers, many of whom contracted the disease from treating others.
📽️ | All of Spain bursts into a round of applause for doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers working during the covid-19 coronavirus pandemic #AplausoSanitario— Catalan News (@catalannews) March 14, 2020
Footage of Gràcia neighborhood, in Barcelona pic.twitter.com/WOTH83rzmv
Shopping for vulnerable neighbours
Many social entities across Catalonia have set up initiatives to pick up groceries for vulnerable neighbours. As everybody is advised to stay indoors and stay as socially distant as possible, and as elderly people are most at-risk of the coronavirus, groups like the Red Cross and the Bonanit Foundation in Tarragona have changed their working schedules to help out the vulnerable in society during these times of crisis.
Yo Me Corono
The pandemic is affecting the whole world, and as such there are teams of researchers working on finding a cure. However, these efforts take a lot of resources. People across Spain have come together for the #YoMeCorono fundraising initiative to help institutes find a vaccine for the virus.
By March 26, almost €850,000 has been raised.
3D printing of respirators and medical equipment
This is the first pandemic the world has seen since the advent of 3D printing. An incredible new technology, 3D printing is capable of creating vital medical devices and tools at a speed never seen before. Manufacturing needs are minimized, and the production can be done in the hospitals that need the devices.
Barcelona-based company BCN3D has offered 63 3D printers to hospitals and medical centers free of charge. Elsewhere, a public-private partnership has already begun producing respirators with 3D printers, and will be able to make 50-100 of them each day. The aim of the project is to provide extra material to hospitals and especially intensive care units coping with the most serious coronavirus cases.
Volunteers making masks
When a dressmaker in the Girona region put out a call on social media for any volunteers willing to give up their time to make face masks, Conchi Morales expected “around nine or ten people” to answer.
Instead, thousands stepped forward, and the group quickly organised to make 1,000 face masks in one morning alone. The team is now looking for donations of materials to continue making as many face masks as medical centers need, and have since moved from cotton ones to masks made from surgical material that can be washed, disinfected, and reused.
Healthcare workers can take taxis for free
The heroes working on the front line of this crisis should not have to worry about whether they have enough money to arrive at the hospitals to take care of countless patients.
As such, medical workers can ride in Barcelona’s taxis for free during this crisis, thanks to an initiative from a taxi drivers guild that counts hundreds of drivers.
Stay at home anthem collaboration
Following the success of the at-home online streaming music festival ‘Yo Me Quedo En Casa Festival’ (“I’m Staying At Home Festival”), some of Catalonia’s biggest musicians have banded together to create the anthem of staying at home during these quarantine days.
Composed by Adrià Salas from the group La Pegatina, the song brings together a spate of other local artists, including Álvaro Soler, Arnau Griso, and Carlos Sadness, and calls on everybody in society to adhere to the rules of the lockdown in order to fight the spread of covid-19. The song has proved a huge hit, going viral across Spain.
Guardiola and Messi give donations
Football personalities Pep Guardiola and Lionel Messi have each donated €1 million to coronavirus relief funds. The former Barcelona manager and current Manchester City boss donated to the Àngel Soler Daniel Foundation to buy medical supplies and equipment, while the current Barça captain gave funds to the Catalan capital's Hospital Clinic, which will share the money with a medical center in Argentina.
"Leo Messi made a donation to the clinic to fight the coronavirus," the hospital posted on its social media on Tuesday, adding: "Thank you very much, Leo, for your commitment and your support."