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Inside the outbreak: Bottom-up solutions

Americans are coming up with creative responses to COVID-19 problems


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China’s coronavirus response is top-down: Government issues directives. America’s so far has been more bottom-up, or middle-up-and-down. The NBA got the basketball rolling last week and other sports leagues followed. Now the “little platoons” of decentralization are coming up with creative ideas. Here are five things I’ve learned from my recent Twitter feed—I haven’t verified the items, but I’m passing them on in the hope that one creative response inspires another:

• A New York union that represents health workers has an emergency child care plan for them, so those workers will be able to help others.

• Jewish parents canceled their son’s Bar Mitzvah on Saturday but decided to keep the contract with their caterer, a tiny Hmong-owned business. They delivered the food to friends in quarantine and sent pans home with others.

• A grocery store will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. for the elderly starting on Tuesday. It’s asking younger folks to respect that hour as allocated for old folks only.

• In Maryland, corps of medical volunteers are mobilizing, and the state government is recognizing out-of-state and expired medical licenses.

• In a Washington state school district, bus drivers at their standard stops along the school bus route will deliver meals to poor children who would otherwise be eating in schools.


Marvin Olasky

Marvin is the former editor in chief of WORLD, having retired in January 2022, and former dean of World Journalism Institute. He joined WORLD in 1992 and has been a university professor and provost. He has written more than 20 books, including Reforming Journalism.

@MarvinOlasky

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