Life in the Time of COVID-19: How can we help each other?

The COVID-19 virus has disrupted people’s lives all over the world in ways that were previously unimaginable. In the US, unemployment has risen to an unprecedented level, nearly 100,000 have lost their lives to the virus, and anxiety and uncertainty about the future are widespread. 

IntelliSurvey’s most recent US ‘Life in the Time of COVID-19’ survey, conducted on May 15, 2020, posed the following question to the 1,015 participants:  “What’s the most  important thing people can do to help each other right now?”

Follow the guidelines!

Just over half of survey participants answered the optional question, and as shown in the chart above, the most common suggestion, mentioned by 35% of those who responded, was to follow the guidelines, including maintaining social distancing, practicing sanitary and safety procedures, and wearing masks in public.  Some participants referenced following the guidelines of the government and/or medical or scientific professionals, while others did not indicate the source of the guidelines:

  • “Pay attention to guidelines from local officials and experts in the health field, and do as they recommend. Don’t try to second-guess them.”
  • “Maintain social distancing; wear protective gear when out; wash your hands often.”
  • “Follow the rules put in place if they are scientifically backed.”
  • “Just follow government orders so it can all be over quicker”
  • “Keep social distance and wear gloves and masks when going to the store and sanitizing everything in the house”
  • “Maintain social distancing and cleanliness procedures while being respectful of others.”

Kindness is key

Another relatively frequent recommendation, cited by 15% of those answering, was to be kind, patient, compassionate and/or respectful of others. Many of these responses included examples of kindness, while others merely encouraged kindness in general.  A common theme in the answers was to be kind because we are all in this together:

  • “Be kind to everyone, including yourself. Too many are refusing to wear a mask in a public place and starting arguments/physical fights and even shooting weapons. Love and kindness will help us all to get through this. Obey all the rules: social distancing, wearing masks etc. The more we do all of these, the better we’ll feel and the better we’ll make others around us feel.”
  • “Be respectful and kind when engaging with others. We’re all in this together!”
  • “Just being kind and understanding we’re all facing hardship right now . Helping anybody in every way we can will make these uncertain times more livable”
  • “Act as if everyone is your grandma”

Stay home

Fifteen percent of participants also specifically indicated that despite the fact that the country has begun to re-open, sheltering in place and staying and/or working from home are all things we can do to help each other:

  • “Continue to stay at home even though the country has opened up.”
  • “Stay apart and stay at home so the spread will go away and things can go back to normal”
  • “Stay at home and avoid passing the virus on to someone else or avoid catching it yourself”
  • “Stay home as much as possible. Only do what is necessary to keep  your family supplied with  food, clothing, and other needs  Walk outside instead of using the gym.”

Support one another

Another popular suggestion, mentioned by 13% of those answering the question, was to support and help one another.  Many who responded gave specific examples of support, ranging from donating money or supplies to detailed examples of how to assist neighbors, the elderly or vulnerable:

  • “Donate money to help with medical research/vaccine research or anyone affected by this pandemic, maintain social distancing as long as it’s needed”
  • “Donate supplies like toilet paper or food to neighbors in need if you are able to find them and you know they are struggling.”
  • “Help people in your neighborhood with groceries, yard work, walking the dog, etc.”
  • “Keep talking so people aren’t overly isolated. I worry that depression and suicide are going to become serious threats and issues, more than they have been”

Stop fighting/politicizing the situation

Although less frequently mentioned than the topics described previously, 4% indicated that one way to help each other is to stop fighting and, in particular, not to politicize the pandemic:

  • “Be understanding that not everyone is in the same situation and stop politicizing everything.”
  • “Stop bickering over politics and start taking steps to actually help each other”
  • “Stop fighting, and calling this a hoax”

Don’t be controlled by the media, government or a political party

While some discourage political bickering, others (4%) appear to think that the government, media, or one or both major political parties are the source of the problem, and ignoring or casting them out is the best way to help:

  • “Physically remove the Marxist Democrats from office.”
  • “Don’t listen to the fear mongering propaganda on the media”
  • “Vote Trump out and stay away from each other and listen to the scientists”

Educate yourself, be positive, stay calm and carry on

Other ways in which respondents believe people can help one another right now include doing research and educating themselves, staying positive and calm, and carrying on with normal life:

  • “To educate themselves; reach out to others as well.”
  • “The most important thing people could do right now is say positive words to your neighbors and relatives to keep spirits high. People are depressed because of the coronavirus, to keep depression down, talk to your family members about happy times, dance at home together and laugh together more often at home.”
  • “Stay calm, and do your best”
  • “Get back to our lives….we hit the pause button and need to get back to normalcy”

The variety of responses detailed in this post demonstrate that there is no consensus as to the most important thing people can do to help one another in these challenging times. However, doing what you can to protect others and prevent the spread of the virus, along with exhibiting patience, kindness, positivity, and respect for all, regardless of their beliefs or opinions, are all good places to start.

Respondents for this survey were collected via Lucid Marketplace.