COVID-19 continues to be the top story around the world.

Like many, who are following stay-at-home orders from our governor, I found myself feeling like I wasn’t getting much accomplished.

With that in mind, I set two goals.  One was to search for any possible positive effects from the virus and second, to find interesting ways people are keeping themselves busy during the pandemic. 

Today’s column achieves the first goal.

India, which has a population of 1.3 billion, is considered one of the worst polluted countries in the world.

Because people have been ordered to stay at home during the pandemic, an awesome vision has begun to emerge as the air has cleared up.

Himalayas is the highest mountain range in the world and has 9 out of 10 of the world’s highest peaks, including Mount Everest.

As pollution has receded amid the lockdown, a view of the snow-capped Himalaya mountains can be seen for the first time in 30 years.

Yosemite National Park is in the California Sierra Nevada mountains.  In Yosemite Village, there are shops, restaurants and lodges.  The park averages 4 million visitors a year.

Large crowds and loud noises don’t create a calming environment for wild animals.

Due to park closures, trails are empty.  Of humans, anyway.

Since the state has been put on lockdown, the park is full of a different kind of visitors.

In Yosemite National Park, wildlife has taken over.  Streets are full of deer and coyotes are walking along the bike paths.  Bobcats can be seen running through the forests.

We often forget how our presence affects the rest of nature.  These parks were home to wildlife long before they were part of our outdoor activities.

Giant pandas are classified as a vulnerable species with an estimated population of between 500 and 1,000 still in existence.

So, it is a big deal when a panda gets pregnant.

The Hong Kong zoo has been temporarily closed since January due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

According to zoo officials, two of their pandas have tried unsuccessfully to mate for ten years.

 Last week, the two finally managed to figure it out.  Because the pandas are becoming extinct, officials are understandably very happy about the news.

It’s possible these two pandas just wanted a little privacy to do their business.  Makes sense to me.

A virtual volunteer program intended to help lonely seniors could be a blessing.

An organization in England has created the “Adopt a Grandparent” program.  It involves residents of a nursing home company with thirteen locations.

People over 65 are particularly susceptible to the virus and those in nursing homes are now prohibited from having visitors. This has created a very lonely environment for the seniors.

Those interested in volunteering can apply listing interests and general information.

Once paired with a senior, the volunteer can chat via phone or video.  You are also allowed to send pictures, postcards and letters.

This could be beneficial to both the volunteer and senior.

Anyone who has a pet understands the psychological benefits of having that bond with their animal.  More and more people are searching for ways to relieve their anxiety during this emotional time.

Some animal shelters across the country report they are running out of adoptable pets because of the pandemic.  People are going to shelters to adopt or foster pets more than ever.

Shelter workers believe many who agree to temporarily care for a pet will decide they want the animal to stay for good and that’s great news for our four-legged friends.

Clemson Football coach Dabo Swinney is under fire for comments he made during an interview earlier this month.

When Coach Swinney was asked about his thoughts on whether college football would be played at all this year, his reaction was quick.  Swinney said he has “zero” doubt college football with be played.

That is an interesting conclusion, considering health experts aren’t sure when things will get back to normal.

Even though some football analysts questioned his response, it wasn’t his comments about football that raised eyebrows.

The problem began when Swinney told the reporter he and his family had recently traveled by private plane to Florida on vacation and they had plans to travel again Easter.

This news, as the rest of the country are under stay-at-home orders did not go over well.

Since this is a guy who measures his success by how many times he can beat Alabama, just keep talking, Bubba.

To be continued.

Anita McGill is a former publisher of The Sentinel. She can be reached by email at anitamcgill99@gmail.com.

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