It’s been another tough week around the world as the coronavirus pandemic continues. But, when in crisis, humanity has a habit of finding hidden joy.
To help give you that Friday feeling, here are eight positive stories you may have missed this week.
1. Some penguins went on an adventure.
Shedd Aquarium in Chicago was closed to visitors this week, but the penguins didn’t mind one bit. Staff caught them on camera waddling out of their usual habitat and exploring the rest of the exhibits just like a human would.
If that’s cheered you up, there are plenty of other cute animals who are gorgeously oblivious to what’s going on. Check out our animal round-up.
2. PrEP is finally here.
Reminding us there’s news to be celebrated outside of coronavirus, NHS England announced the anti-HIV drug, PrEP, will finally be routinely available. The drug, which is up to 100% effective at stopping HIV, has – until now – only been available via a capped trial.
HIV charity The Terrence Higgins Trust called the move a “game-changer” for HIV prevention. “We know PrEP is highly effective at stopping HIV and now it can be properly utilised to make good on the Government’s commitment to ending HIV transmissions by 2030,” chief executive Ian Green said.
3. St Patrick’s Day ‘parades’ still went ahead.
It was St Patrick’s Day on Tuesday and while most official gatherings and parades were cancelled, families put on their own versions at home. Dancing, music and toys all round!
4. Music brought the world together.
During this difficult time, the universal language of song has bonded us more than anything else. There are dozens of videos that have gone viral this week, showing people in quarantine singing together or playing instruments to cheer neighbours up from afar.
We particularly love the new online choir, The Sofa Singers, made up of hundreds of people in insolation around the world. Top marks to musician James Sills for setting it up.
5. ‘Britain’s loneliest dog’ found a home.
A pooch dubbed ‘Britain’s loneliest dog’ finally found a home this week, having been at Last Chance Animal Rescue in Edenbridge, Kent, for more than 10 years.
Bess found her forever home after staff launched a viral campaign focussing on her, which soon led to offers from as far as the US.
A spokesperson from the shelter told Kent Online: “It was very emotional for everyone as she set off to her new life, but also very rewarding, as a loving home is what we want for all our dogs, and finally we have one for our Bess. Thank you to everyone who offered Bess a home.”
6. Teachers rose to the challenge.
As schools across the UK prepare to close their gates for the foreseeable future, teachers have been offering their support. Many have posted online – on Facebook, WhatsApp, and other community groups – to detail their qualifications, share advice, and signpost online resources to parents.
In one community WhatsApp group, seen by HuffPost UK, a teacher offered to do online teaching via Skype for the children on her road in south west London.
Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach, has also launched a free 9am “PE with Joe” class from his YouTube channel to keep kids active.
7. National Trust scrapped fees.
To help the nation enjoy the great outdoors while social distancing, National Trust announced it would open many of its gardens and parks for free.
And elsewhere on social media, people have been sharing relaxing photos of nature to spread a sense of calm.
8. The kindness continued.
From buying supplies for elderly neighbours to writing letters to curb loneliness, kindness is still alive and well.
If you’re in need of a positivity boost during the day, simply look through the hashtags #RandomActsOfKindness, #KindnessIsContagious and #SpreadKindness on Twitter. You won’t be disappointed.