So I know you're probably sick of hearing about COVID-19 at the moment, I am as well. But for the sake of my, and others', sanity I promise that I am only sharing information about the virus that is somehow productive or positive, and this is one of those posts. It feels weird just continuing to talk about charity shopping and zero waste in a time where most people aren't shopping, and sustainability is their last thoughts. And injustice, community, health, the environment, they're all linked. So I will be talking about the coronavirus in the next few weeks (with breaks to talk about other stuff because we all need a break), but I promise it will be productive and positive. No scare mongering here!

Now I'm no medical expert, so I won't give that kind of advice, but I do know in times like these we need community and, more than ever, we need to do our best to help those around us. Here in the UK the government isn't doing all that much to help the individuals who are most affected by this, so we can learn to help each other. I've been feeling a little helpless this lat week so I decided to be proactive and find ways I, and you, can help those around you!

If you're sick, self isolate.
It's a pain, maybe you're not worried about your own health, but please don't put other people at risk.

To help slow the spread of the virus and make sure that the NHS can cope with the number of people getting seriously ill, we need everyone that can stay at home to do so. There will be lots of people in your community who are in the "at risk" category so think of them before you decide to venture out ill. Especially if you're someone who is privileged enough to work from home or get decent sick pay.

It also helps stop the spread frontline NHS staff who we need the most during this crisis as well as other workers who may not be able to afford not to go to work/ who are essential for our towns and cities to keep running like cleaning staff, and bus drivers.

Check in on your vulnerable and elderly neighbours
These people in your community are likely quite scared at the moment, and some may already feel quite isolated. So ring them up and ask them if they need any help, or just sit and chat. A little love goes a long way.

I also saw this lovely note that's been going around which you can drop off to people around you who may need help with grocery shopping, picking up medication, or just a friendly voice to chat to in the coming weeks and months so this is an option if you don't know someone directly you can help. Make sure to keep a distance from vulnerable people and take precautions like dropping food on their doorstep for them to keep them safe.

Also check in with younger friends who live alone or may just be worried at the moment

Social distancing!
This may seem silly to some, but just stay away from people out and about as much as possible. Again, you may not be worried about your own health, but there will be people out there you should be worried about. So avoid things like handshakes and hugging, and keep a good distance from those around you in public.

Donate to Food Banks
With everyone stockpiling at the moment, food banks are really needing food. Plus people who rely on food banks will want to have some reserve food just in case. So while you're out shopping, and can afford to stockpile for yourself, buy a few items for the food bank too. They often have signs near collection bins/information on their websites which tell you what food they're in need of most.

If you're self isolating and still want to help you can try Bankuet, thanks Ethical Unicorn for making me aware of this one, they take monetary donations and buy and send food to a food bank of your choosing when they need it. There's not that many locations on there at the moment but it's an amazing way to help communities without having to leave the house.
I don't think I need to go into this one, but wash your hands regularly, cover your mouth when you sneeze, avoid touching your face in public. Keep this up!

Only go to the Doctors if you really need to
This includes calling 111 or 999. These services are currently overwhelmed so if you just feel a little bit under the weather treat your symptoms at home and let doctors deal with those who really need medical care.

If you're really sick definitely get help though, take care of yourself.

Don't buy medical equipment you don't need.
Facemasks and other medical equipment and PPI are currently in pretty short supply and it may be tempting to buy some. But a lot of immunocompromised people need these as every day tools to survive, and are currently struggling to get them, so please leave these for people who really need them. And if you have spare at home consider donating them to a charity or organisation that can redistribute them where they're needed.

This thinking also applies to food, it's smart to buy enough to last you an extra week or so if you can, but don't go overboard. Some people can only afford to shop weekly so leave some food for them! Also leave supermarket delivery slots to those who are in need of them.

Call out and fight racism
I've seen to many instances of racism against Chinese and other asian people from the very start of this pandemic. This is not an excuse to be racist, so please call out racism you see and don't perpetuate stereotypes. You are not more likely to get COVID-19 from a Chinese person in your community so continue getting Chinese takeout food, shop at your local asian supermarket (it's probably going to have less queues) and generally just don't be racist.

Support local businesses and charities
As things get cancelled and people go out less local businesses and charities are going to be hit. So  try as much as you can to buy from local shops (they are likely to have food and less queues than supermarkets), buy vouchers to local restaurants you can't currently visit, and keep donating to charities doing amazing work.

Look after yourself
Remember that you can't help others if you don't also look after yourself. This isn't me excusing selfish behaviour but make sure you're taking time for yourself, especially for your mental health. So keep yourself busy, stay of social media and switch off the news if you need to. Just make sure to do something for yourself every now and again.

Things might be scary and a bit difficult right now but we'll be better prepared to handle things together.

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