Friday Files – April 3, 2020

In this special edition of FRIDAY FUN, we highlight stories of help and hope during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Mark your calendars for next year; March 30 is National Doctor’s Day. And International Nurse’s Day is observed on May 12.

The climate has benefitted during the pandemic and related stay-at-home orders. In Venice, the canals began to get clearer, with fish visible in the water below. According to Lauri Myllyvirta, an analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air in Finland, restrictions contributed to a 25% drop in China’s carbon dioxide emissions over four weeks beginning in late January, compared to the same time last year, NBC News reports. In San Francisco, with a shelter-in-place order in effect, the average concentration of fine particulate matter—tiny particles in the air that are dangerous because they can be breathed deeply into the lungs—over a five-day period ending March 31, was almost 40% lower than the previous year. In New York City, there was a 28% drop over the same period, and the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue saw a 32% decrease.

Homeless animals are benefitting too. A Pethealth database that covers about 1,400 shelters and organizations around the country finds pet adoptions are up 100% from last year and fosters are up 197% compared to this time last year.

In East Yorkshire, England, a couple was scheduled to marry last weekend. When the reception was called off due to the coronavirus, they chose to divert all of their catering to more than 400 hospital workers in Hull instead, reports the Independent. The couple did marry—with two witnesses instead of their planned 120 guests.

In New York City, a family did something similar when their daughter’s bat mitzvah celebration was cancelled. The food for the event was already prepared, so the family told the caterers to package it up for delivery to people in quarantine. Parent volunteers then coordinated deliveries across the New York metropolitan area for staff members and their families. Around 150 boxes of food were delivered to quarantined people in Bergen County, the Bronx, Westchester, Manhattan, Queens and Rockland County. The boxes contained portions of pesto salmon, balsamic chicken, a “rocket dog” package with a hamburger, hot dog, fries and onion rings, butternut squash soup, fresh fruit, dinner rolls, and traditional hamantaschen cookies for the Jewish holiday of Purim.

In Latvia, the family-run Circus Alex, a traveling Czech circus, has been unable to perform or return home since borders were closed in mid-March. Its owners were forced to turn to social media to ask for help to feed their horses, goats, a llama and themselves. “We have been overwhelmed by the support of strangers,” one circus owner told the AFP, adding the circus has received “more food for ourselves and our animals than we can eat!”

In Cheltenham, England, a former professional javelin thrower, spent his 32nd birthday doing 6-meter (20-foot) shuttles from one end of his small backyard to the other after promising to run a marathon if one of his Twitter messages received 10,000 retweets. He traversed his yard at least 7,000 times to reach 42.2 kilometers (26.2 miles), the Associated Press reports. By the time he completed the marathon in just over five hours, he had raised more than 18,000 pounds ($22,000) for Britain’s National Health Service to help battle the coronavirus pandemic.

In Belfast, Ireland, the ice cream man is bringing something different to residents. One ice cream van owner is carrying supplies to under-served areas with at-risk residents who are in self-isolation to avoid infection. Parked in neighborhoods, workers in rubber gloves and face masks sell toilet paper, bread, milk, eggs and other items through the hatch. Drivers of the van still play its cheerful music.

In Naples, Florida, the day before a restaurant was ordered to close due to the coronavirus, a customer handed $10,000 cash to the manager as he left. The “tip” was evenly split among the restaurant’s 20 employees, many of whom the restaurant owner says have since been laid off.

In Madrid, Spain, isolated neighbors helped Charo celebrate her 80th birthday. If you can’t view the below video, try

Unable to be near their sick loved ones, medical professionals step in to do what families can’t. If you can’t view the below video, try

What the world needs now… If you can’t view the below video, try

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