As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 outbreak together, the long-term impact of the pandemic remains difficult to assess. Amidst this unprecedented uncertainty, communities across the United States and around the world are embracing social distancing, self-isolation, and quarantine to help slow the spread of the outbreak, protect their most vulnerable members, and reduce the impact of the pandemic.
Health authorities including the CDC and WHO agree that the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. It may not feel like it, but following your local self-isolation or quarantine regulations and practicing the CDC’s guidelines are one of the most effective things you can do to limit the spread of COVID-19. But what if you want to do more to help?
Here are 6 other ways you can contribute to local and the global efforts to reduce the spread and impact of COVID-19 without endangering others—or in some cases, without even leaving your couch:
1. Join a community “care mongering” group.
Numerous local groups have sprung up on Facebook and other social networks to share resources and breaking news, as well as connect community members who need support with those who can safely help. For example, if you are a member of a high risk group and can’t leave your house, you can post a request for help and people in your community will respond. On the other hand, if you are healthy and are making a trip to the grocery store, you can post an offer to pick up essential supplies for those who can’t safely make the trip themselves.
If you are offering help to at-risk neighbors, be sure to follow the advice of the CDC and WHO:
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds before and after delivery using antibacterial soap
- Maintain a personal distance of at least 6 feet, or ideally, coordinate a contactless delivery
- Immediately sanitize package deliveries using anti-bacterial wipes or other sanitizing products
Read the CDC’s advice on how to protect yourself from COVID-19.
2. Support local businesses and not-for-profit organizations
Look up local businesses and not-for-profit organizations online to find out the best way to offer support through the course of the outbreak. Many eat-in restaurants and bars have closed, and non-essential services and retailers have been forced to close in several jurisdictions across the country. However, many businesses are still operating and are asking the public to support them by ordering pick-up and delivery instead.
TSI TIP: If you order food delivery, consider the risk your delivery person is taking to make sure you receive your order safely and on time, and don’t forget to give them a generous tip.
3. Donate to local service organizations
The Center for Disease Philanthropy recommends making cash donations to free clinics in areas hit hardest by the outbreak. These funds can be used to purchase much-needed protective equipment and supplies.
4. Donate to your local food bank
As people rush to stock up on “essentials” and food drive events are cancelled across the country, food banks may not receive the donations they count on from individuals, organizations, grocers, and other retailers.
Vulnerable populations, including low- and fixed-income families and individuals as well as homeless and those in at-risk housing situations, will be the most affected by food insecurity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Food banks are also anticipating increased need over the coming weeks from people who are unable to work and earn, as well as those with jobs that have changed significantly as a result of the outbreak.
5. Donate blood
The American Red Cross and America’s Blood Centers have both announced blood shortages. Blood drives across the country have been cancelled in response to the pandemic, but healthy, eligible individuals are still able to donate much-needed blood or platelets at clinics in their communities. The Red Cross is taking additional steps to keep all donors safe, including checking the temperature of staff and donors.
6. Stay connected with friends and family
Self-isolation can be, well, isolating, and it’s not easy for everyone to cope. Reach out to your loved ones—especially members of vulnerable communities—to catch up and offer support. There are lots of options for staying connected while social distancing: Schedule regular check-ins, send a care package, plan a Netflix viewing party, or find a video game you all enjoy.
Following the CDC’s hygiene and social distancing recommendations are the most effective way to stem the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). If you’re looking for other ways to help, you can:
- Join a community care mongering group
- Support local businesses and not-for-profit groups
- Donate to local service organizations
- Donate to local food banks
- Donate blood
- Stay connected with loved ones
Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Preparedness Resources
Prepare yourself, your home, and your loved ones for COVID-19 with our emergency preparedness resources:
- What Makes Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Different from Other Natural Disasters?
- How to Help Communities & Individuals Impacted by Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- How to Create a Pandemic Preparedness Plan
- Supplies to Have on hand During the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic
- How to Safely Pack, Ship, and Receive Packages During a Pandemic