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01st May 2020

#UpBeat: Vaccine trials and long awaited hugs – 6 good things that happened this week

Jade Hayden

Good news, everyone.

It can sometimes be hard to remain upbeat, especially in the midst of a global pandemic.

Every day, we’re reminded of the negatives – the deaths, the new cases, the worries, the fears – but what about the good things that have happened this week?

What about the recoveries, the heartwarming tales of community, the wonderful solidarity among people as they band together while staying apart?

Lots of good things have happened this week, so let’s talk about them.

1. Covid-19 vaccine trials get underway in the UK 

After word that social distancing may stay part of life until a vaccine is developed, it can sometimes feel as if any kind of tangible end to the Covid-19 pandemic is far, far away in the future.

But in some good and promising news, the first human trials for a coronavirus vaccine in the UK have started.

Scientists are confident that the vaccine they are working on will have an 80 percent chance of success, which is a pretty high percentage, really.

Much more research must be done before the vaccine will be close to distribution of course, but the news remains a considerable step in the right direction.

2. Young children in Switzerland can hug their grandparents again 

Sometimes it’s the little wins that’ll keep us going – and in this case it’s the knowledge that children under the age of 10 will get to hug their grandparents in Switzerland really soon. 

This week, the country’s scientists concluded that children as young as 10 do not transmit the virus, and therefore will be allowed to visit their grandparents as Switzerland relaxes its Covid-19 restrictions.

The meetings will be brief and should not involve babysitting, but it’s something. A positive for somebody else is a positive for us all.

3. Tom Hanks donates blood plasma to Covid-19 research 

Honestly, what a guy.

Following his bout of coronavirus while shooting a movie in Australia, Tom Hanks has returned home and focused his efforts on finding a vaccine for Covid-19. 

Naturally, there is only so much that Hanks can do himself, but donating his blood plasma to research is still a pretty significant move in the incredible work already being done to find a vaccine.

Or in his case, a ‘Hank-ccine.’

4. Army veteran Tom Moore promoted to Colonel for 100th birthday

And well deserved too.

Last month, Captain Tom Moore raised a staggering £30 million for the NHS by walking 100 laps of his back garden ahead of his 100th birthday.

The British army veteran was promoted to Colonel this week to mark his birthday and he was, understandably, delighted with the outcome of his little fundraiser that turned out to be quite significant.

5. Boy sets up drive-thru joke stand to spread joy during lockdown 

Incredible scenes here as a six year old boy in Vancouver decided to set up a drive-thru joke stand to make his neighbours’ days that little bit less grim.

According to CBC, Callaghan McLaughlin originally wanted to start a lemonade stand for the summer, but due to the restrictions put in place amid the coronavirus pandemic, he opened up a drive by joke service instead.

What a king.

6. Normal People started airing on RTÉ 

A beautiful series with an incredible cast – and even more incredible depictions of sex and intimacy – Normal People started airing on RTÉ this week.

The BBC series, based on the Sally Rooney’s stunning novel of the same name, has received a worthy and impressive response from viewers, who have deemed the show a necessary glimpse at modern Irish relationships.

The series has also, and rather hilariously, pissed off all the right people, as many took it upon themselves to phone into Joe Duffy to complain that the show was “pornographic” and “unrealistic.”

17 year olds don’t drive cars, don’t be ridiculous.

This is #UpBeat: a rundown of positive, heartwarming, and generally good things that happened during the week. It can sometimes be difficult to see beyond the doom and gloom of the current news cycle, but it’ll do us a world of good to remember that great things are still happening.