The recent spread of the Coronavirus (SARS-COV-2) is affecting many millions of people's lives around the planet. At worst, it is costing people the ultimate price, while others are being confined to their homes.
It is also causing many large gatherings of people, like sports events or conferences to be canceled left, right, and center. But, thanks to modern technology, some people have found a powerful tool to let them carry on regardless -- going virtual.
What events are going virtual because of COVID-19?
So, without further ado, here are some creative ways people have taken their social events online in the face of the growing pandemic. This list is far from exhaustive and is in no particular order.
1. Cyclists take their racing online amid pandemic-related cancellations
Many sporting events have been canceled in light of the current pandemic rampaging around the globe. Cycling has been no exception.
Many professional cycle races at this time of year tend to be located in Northern Europe in many of the regions affected by Coronavirus (SARS-COV-2). For this reason, most of them have been summarily called-off until further notice.
But that hasn't stopped many amateurs and professional cyclists who have found something of a workaround. Throughout March many cyclists have been and will be, meeting online using the bike racing game Zwift to keep their racing form in tip-top condition.
It also helps keep them occupied when under quarantine.
2. These Japanese students held their graduation ceremony in Minecraft
「何やってんの？」— 柏原周平 (@backyennew) March 14, 2020
Like many countries around the world, schools in Japan have been officially closed for at least two weeks to help slow the spread of Coronavirus (SARS-COV-2). But, for this group of Japanese students, the timing couldn't be more inconvenient.
They were scheduled to graduate from their academic year this month. In case you didn't know, Japanese school years run between April and March.
But, this didn't stop these students from holding their graduation ceremony -- they just took it online.
As they couldn't hold it physically at school, these elementary graduate students decided to hold the ceremony using Minecraft instead.
3. Cherry blossom viewing parties in Japan have gone virtual too
In Japan, this time of year is when the sakura tree begins to bloom. This normally marks a special time in the country where people plan something called Hanami (cherry blossom viewing) parties.
Unfortunately, the recent outbreak of Coronavirus (SARS-COV-2) has other ideas in mind. Authorities in Japan have discouraged large gatherings of people, like Hanami, to slow down the spread of the virus among the population.
This is very unfortunate as these parties are universally loved by most of the population. They represent a link to Japan's cultural past and makes for a great excuse for people to escape the cities to get out into the country.
But one Japanese website, Weather News, has posted more than 50 "Hanami VR" videos that allow viewers to get a 360-degree viewing of the cherry blossoms in full bloom at some of Japan's most popular spots. This, they hope, will help make the current situation that little bit easier for the populace.
4. This chap ran a marathon on his apartment's balcony
One man, Elisha Nochomovitz, spent the best part of 6 hours and 48 minutes running an entire marathon on his own balcony. Stuck indoors because of quarantine in Toulouse, France, his plight didn't stop him from doing the one thing he loves the most -- running.
France is currently under a 15-day nationwide ban preventing people from leaving home, except for essential outings.
Nochomovitz completed the 26.2 miles (42.16 km) distance by running up and down his 7-meter balcony. It took him around 6,000 laps to complete the run.
The 32-year-old restaurant worker shared a video of his experience online.
5. The guy led his neighbors in a group workout during a lockdown in Seville
In Seville, Spain, one guy decided to help keep his neighbors fit and entertained by leading them in a group workout. While doing som exercise at home on your own is one way to keep fit, this guy decided it might be more fun, and useful, to help others do the same.
Fitness instructor Gonzala led the fun group workout from a rooftop in the center of his apartment block's courtyard. Footage of the workout was shared on Instagram, and it appears the workout was very popular among his neighbors.
While Spain is currently under lockdown, like many countries around the world, initiatives like this are a welcome sight for many people in isolation.
6. Under quarantine? Why not start an open-air cinema?
Heartwarming idea - Open air cinema in Rome 💚 ❤#COVID19#wirbleibenzuhause#BleibtZuhause#lockdown#Italy#Italien#Corona#coronaitalia#keepgoing#COVID#FlattenTheCurve#KeepTheFaithpic.twitter.com/SARWuQnKge— FlowerOfTheForest (@FlowerOfTheFor1) March 19, 2020
In Rome, Italy, housebound residents have decided to get into the community spirit by starting an open-air cinema. In scenes reminiscent of "The Postman", the residents of these apartments in Rome are passing the time by playing classic films for all to see.
Bringing a much-needed break from the monotony of being stuck indoors, many residents appear to be really getting into the mood by joining film stars of old in a dance. This truly is an excellent idea and one that, we hope, will spark a trend.
7. This Indian couple got engaged virtually
A couple in New Delhi, India decided to use the latest technology to bring the tradition of getting engaged virtually. Seemingly inspired by India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is pushing to modernize the country, the couple conducted the ceremony via video call.
Family members dressed in the full traditional regalia, performed the necessary rituals, as usual, with the exception of not actually all being together physically. Despite this, the participants were as enthused and excited as they would normally be.
Thankfully the internet connection held firm, enabling this very special moment to go off without a hitch (pun intended).
8. Funeral homes are also going virtual
Funeral homes are also being heavily affected by the current pandemic. As large gatherings of people are prohibited or discouraged by many authorities, some funeral homes are doing what they can to help their local communities.
One solution being found is to make funerals virtual. This not only allows funerals to continue as planned but also enables extended family and friends to say goodbye to their lost loved ones.
9. This band is taking their gigs online
And finally, this group of musicians decided to take their gig for St. Patricks Day online. The band called "The Jolly Beggars", hosted their concert via Facebook Live.
Apparently they were open to donations, as March is usually their busiest month, but their primary ambition was to bring hope and joy to people during this time of great upheaval.
“Even though you can’t go out to local pubs and restaurants and hang out in big groups to enjoy celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, hopefully, tonight you will be able to at least enjoy the celebration of Irish music from the comfort of your own home,” said band member Greg Wilfrid.