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    15 Ways You Can Help In Your Community During A Coronavirus Lockdown.

    COVID-19 has brought about difficult and unprecedented times for everyone around the world. But there are MANY things each of us CAN do in our communities to fight the devastating impact of the novel coronavirus.

    1. Buy gift cards for your favorite local restaurants and cafes.

    Freepik / Via freepik.com

    Small businesses will some of the hardest hit by COVID-19 related lockdowns. Show your appreciation for your local establishments by buying their gift cards. This will provide them with critical cash support in the coming weeks and months.

    For example, check out Help Main Street! - they allow you to directly buy gift cards for a number of small businesses in NYC.

    2. Pre-pay your childcare helpers, housekeepers, hairdressers and other lifesavers for the next few months.

    Freepik / Via freepik.com

    All the people who help and support critical day-to-day functions in your life will be hit hard by the double whammy of reduced demand for their services during a lockdown and additional short-term cash needs in preparing for a lockdown.

    For many of these poeple, their jobs cannot be done "working from home", so please pre-pay them for the next few weeks or months if you can - this will go a long way for them to manage their cashflow and help reduce their anxiety and uncertainty.

    3. Tip the delivery people (and everyone else) well!

    benzoix / Via freepik.com

    During a period of lockdown, people who are doing delivery runs (and generally working to help us while we stay home) are out there, fulfilling our orders and deliveries when we need them most - show a special thank you by tipping them generously!

    4. Donate any extra N-95 masks to your local hospital.

    Elizabeth Scallon / Via Twitter: @E_Scallon

    If your have any extra N-95 masks, check with your local hospital if you may be able to donate masks to them. There’s a SEVERE shortage of masks everywhere and we need to make sure all the healthcare workers who are putting their own lives at risk to protect us have basic protections themselves - if they get infected at a time of already stressed healthcare systems, it will have drastic negative repercussions for everyone.

    5. Donate to your local food banks.

    Craig Hudson / Via washingtonpost.com

    As Laura Rieley reports in her Washington Post article, food banks are seeing their supplies dwindle significantly as the coronavirus pandemic spreads, which puts already vulnerable people in our communities and cities even more at risk during a lockdown.

    Please donate any extras in your pantry to your local food bank, and explore other ways you may be able to contribute (e.g. donating at FeedingAmerica.org, US's largest domestic hunger-relief organization).

    6. Help seniors in your community with their shopping needs and grocery runs.

    Jayde Powell / KVVU /CNN / Via edition.cnn.com

    Elderly people and people with pre-existing health conditions are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 than younger, healthier people. Your may consider helping senior citizens and other vulnerable people in your communities with their shopping and grocery runs, pharmacy pick ups etc. If you are helping this way, please make sure you are extra careful about sanitizing and washing your hands and are doing contactless drop offs, to minimize the risk of contracting the novel coronavirus and spreading it to them.

    Here’s great example of how a student, Jayde Powell, stepped up in her community in Reno by creating "Shopping Angels"!

    7. Opt for contact-free deliveries in your favorite delivery apps.

    NY1.com / Via ny1.com

    Many delivery companies such as Postmates, Instacart, Grubhub, Ubereats and Doordash are already offering no-contact deliveries – opt for this option in your app, not just for your own health and safety, but for the safety of the people providing you delivery services.

    8. Help tutor kids in your neighborhood online.

    Freepik / Via freepik.com

    With schools and daycare closures in several cities, many parents will need to cope with their kids being cooped up at home all day, often without help, while still doing their day jobs.

    If you enjoy teaching, now is the time to give back to your community! Nextdoor is a great place to offer help, and Zoom / Skype could work great, with their screensharing / whiteboarding options!

    9. DON'T HOARD, and share where you can.

    Richard Vogel / Via dallasnews.com

    As you are shopping for essentials during a lockdown, be mindful that EVERYONE is trying to make it through this difficult time. Please don't hoard - being reasonable and kind is what will carry us all through. Remember if you're thinking of buying a years' worth of toilet paper, someone around the corner may be on their last roll!

    And in the same spirit, share any resources that you don't need with others in your community who might need them.

    10. If you have mild symptoms, talk to your doctor on the phone first.

    Luca Bruno / Associated Press / Via nytimes.com

    If you are experiencing mild cold, flu or COVID-19 like symptoms, call your doctor on the phone first and follow their advice.

    The BIGGEST risk we face is an overwhelmed health system. There are many people who need urgent care for severe COVID-19 symptions and other serious illnesses, and it’s a matter of life and death for them.

    See this New York Times article that highlights how Italy's healthcare system is overloaded and let’s all learn from this.

    11. Ensure good hygiene practices, and WASH your hands.

    Freepik / Via freepik.com

    Wash your hands regularly, and use sanitizer when you can’t wash them. Avoid touching your face, disinfect surfaces you touch frequently, and cough/sneeze into your elbow or upper sleeve.

    Here are some useful guidelines about basic preventative measures from the CDC (US's Center for Disease Control and Prevention).

    12. Please STAY HOME, even if you’re young and healthy.

    CDC / Economist / NYTimes / Via nytimes.com

    Various cities and communities have put in place lockdowns for a reason. Given COVID-19 spread is largely asymptomatic, please practice restraint - if not for yourself, then for the sake of people who are vulnerable and literally face the risk of death due to the spread of the virus.

    Please, please stay home unless it's an emergency to help "Flatten the curve" and allow our healthcare systems to keep up with growing cases. Social. Distancing. Works. Period.

    This article shows a fantastic simulation of how social distancing works in mitigating the spread of COVID-19, and the dramatic impact of a person staying home vs. being out and about.

    13. Follow trusted news sources, and balance your news feed with positive developments.

    KizzyPhD / Via Twitter: @KizzyPhD

    There's a lot of COVID-19 related news and information going around throughout the 24 hours news cycle, a lot of which is very unsettling and some of which may be flat out false. Please remember - misinformation exacerbates panic in communities, so follow trusted sources and be careful about what you share.

    Also, for your own sanity, try to balance all the upsetting news you’re seeing with actual positive developments in fighting COVID-19!

    14. Facetime your parents, family and friends!

    pressfoto / Via freepik.com

    Being isolated during a lockdown can have a significant emotional impact, and it’s probably a time when people need emotional intimacy the most. So video call your parents, friends and loved ones - time to bring out Facetime, Skype, Houseparty, Google Hangout and Zoom!

    15. Meditate, exercise and get good sleep - a healthy immune system is key to fighting COVID-19.

    nensuria / Via freepik.com

    Finally, these are anxious and uncertain times, and anxiety is known to weaken your immune system, i.e. increasing your susceptibility to the novel coronavirus.

    Try to meditate (Headspace and Calm are great to get started), exercise (bodyweight exercises are simple and effective at home) and get good sleep and encourage those in your community to do the same. These will go a long way to keep you and your immune system strong and healthy, which in turn will help combat COVID19 spread!