Commentary / Coronavirus

The Human Spirit is Resilient and Irrepressible Amid COVID-19 Crisis

COVIDThe worldwide COVID crisis is disrupting lives and wreaking havoc but the human spirit is resilient and irrepressible. Without diminishing the pain and suffering that the pandemic is causing, we offer these vignettes that reveal just how tough people can be when faced with adversity and hardship, says the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC].

Italy has been particularly hard hit by the coronavirus; the death rate is second only to China where it originated. NPR reports that more than 1,800 deaths have been reported there to date and the country is in an unprecedented, draconian lockdown. The streets of cities big and small are empty; people have been confined to their homes. Yet, reports are emerging of how strong the human spirit can be.

A resident of Siena tweeted this message: “People of my hometown Siena sing a popular song from their houses along an empty street to warm their hearts during the Italian Covid_19 lockdown.” A citizen of Naples posted a video on Facebook showing her neighbors shouting positive slogans from their windows such as “there is no virus that can beat us.” Her message for her countrymen: “There is trust and optimism in the air… it could not be otherwise, we are Neapolitan, we are optimistic by nature.”

But perhaps the Italian air force provided the country with a special lift in the midst of the crisis when a squadron of jets, spewing red, white and green exhausts [the colors of Italy] performed a flyby.  It was accompanied by a recording of Luciano Pavarotti’s rousing version of Puccini’s classic aria, Nessun Dorma, which ends with the repetition of the word, Vincero– I win!

Meanwhile, good old fashioned American grit is showing itself as the reality of the COVID curse is revealed.  Take the plucky seniors at the Olin College of Engineering in Massachusetts.  They weren’t going to let the crisis get the better of them.  Faced with the likelihood that traditional graduation ceremonies would be cancelled later this Spring, they put together an impromptu “faux-mencement” observance, UPI reports.  The news service says “Seniors attended the ceremony in graduation gowns made from trash bags, caps fashioned from paper and tassels made of yarn.”

Students and faculty gathered for the celebration in the school’s dining hall.  The school’s Dean of Faculty, Mark Somerville, was impressed with the can-do spirit of his students: “This is amazing that this is happening right now.  It is a testament to what Olin is as a community and it kind of makes me want to cry but I’m gonna not do that quite yet.”

Finally, an unidentified pilot took to the skies over Sydney, Australia to reinforce the message that instead of wringing their hands over the hardships they must endure during the pandemic, they should wash them instead to help prevent the spread of the disease.  The skywriter inscribed the words, “Wash Hands,” over the city so that all of its citizens could see.

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