It’s almost a month since the novel coronavirus pandemic hit Jamaica. With no end in sight, it’s easy to feel a little helpless in this awful time. However, there are still several ways for us all to support each other during this crisis. Here are five things we suggest you can do to help:
1. CHECK UP ON NEIGHBOURS AND FRIENDS
We all could use a friend or good neighbour in this stressful time. A quick call or text may be all people need to lift their spirits. The Statistical Institute of Jamaica says single-person households are growing, with a large percentage being elderly women. This group is likely struggling with forced isolation given all the shutdowns and stay-at-home orders. If you're up for it, offer help like getting them a few essentials on your next supermarket or pharmacy run. Sometimes even a friendly chat is plenty of help, and often much appreciated.
2. BUY ESSENTIALS IN MODERATION
With social distancing, curfews and limited business hours, there is little time to restock essential items. But it doesn’t mean we should hoard necessities. That will only cause shortages and force people to go out more to look for items they need. If we buy what we really need to last two weeks, there can be a wider distribution of essentials. By not overdoing it in the shops, you can make a valuable contribution to collective efforts. COVID-19 is something we must combat as a community.
3 FOLLOW THE RULES. SERIOUSLY.
The curfews, stay-at-home and lockdown orders may feel stifling, but social distancing remains the best way to curb the virus spread. Staying home is your best contribution, if we consider the widespread damage shirking protective measures can bring.
Ongoing research suggests some COVID-19 carriers only experience mild symptoms, if any, much like Typhoid Mary. Despite this, they remain highly contagious, and by going out they put everyone at risk. You can help to save lives by just adhering to the measures the government has put in place.
4. DONATE MONEY OR SUPPLIES
Some of us will be more impacted than others in the economic fallout from COVID-19. To help those who are in need some organisations have set up funds and they welcome monetary donations. “Every mickle mek a muckle”, so don’t t feel obligated to give more than you can.
If you own a business, donate products and services. Island Grill, for example, recently gave free meals to frontline healthcare workers. Farmers impacted by the hotel closings have even given their surplus produce to people in quarantine!
5. VOLUNTEER FOR CRITICAL SERVICES
Volunteering to join those on the frontlines is probably the most difficult volunteer choice. But it is the most impactful. While some people have volunteered their body and blood, you can volunteer your time. Call the Ministry of Health and Wellness, which is seeking volunteers to ramp up testing efforts. Other organisations need help cleaning and disinfecting old age homes.
Consider not only where you can have the most impact, but also your own needs. We know COVID-19 is deadliest for the elderly and people with underlying conditions, like asthma. Where you can’t volunteer, rally your friends, family and colleagues to do so.
Together, we can get through this crisis!