Thanks to social distancing, people across the country are forced to cancel many important events but you can't cancel your birthday.
With social distancing measures in place in many countries, a lot of special moments that were meant to be celebrated with family and friends are getting canceled or postponed.
But, one event that you can't cancel or postpone is your birthday. Whether you spend it with loved ones or not, that day is going to come around. So, while it may not be possible to celebrate the day in a big way, there are other ways in which people can have fun.
A 100-year-old man, who was going to have a party on 31 March to celebrate 101 years, was recently disappointed when it was canceled due to social distancing measures. Now, he's asking the kind people of the internet to help him reach 101,000 likes on Twitter instead of the party. Known as Owen, and believed to be from the US, he is one of the elderly who is at a higher risk of catching the coronavirus.
Data from the US and other countries shows that, beyond posing a risk to older adults, young people themselves make up a sizable portion of those hospitalized with the coronavirus https://t.co/uBRJD1R5Po— CNN (@CNN) March 21, 2020
Owen's photo was shared on Twitter by Mohamad Safa, a permanent UN representative, entrepreneur and climate activist from Lebanon, according to the Daily Mail. Safa shared his post with his 79,500 followers. Mohamad said, "His 101st birthday party was cancelled because of the impact of the Coronavirus. Please share and comment to help us make his upcoming birthday special. Please leave him a message here. Take 60 seconds and do it for Owen!"
His 101st birthday party was canceled because of the impact of the Coronavirus. Please share and comment to help us make his upcoming birthday special. Please leave him a message here.— Mohamad Safa (@mhdksafa) March 21, 2020
Take 60 seconds and do it for Owen! pic.twitter.com/coIVAJ2rKv
Thousands of people shared the post, commented "Happy Birthday" and liked his post. It has received over and beyond the likes, Owen had been looking for to help mark his birthday.
One person, commenting on the photo, wrote, "I hope you have the almost unique distinction of surviving the 1919 Flu and 2020 Corona virus.!" Many others wished the elderly man saying, "Wow, your looking good Owen. Have a fab 101st Birthday Young Man and please stay safe." Another person wrote, "Hi Owen! Happy Birthday from Sydney, Australia. Keep well and don't party too hard on your big day." While one more commenter said, "Wooo, you are one handsome fellow indeed! Happy birthday! Wish you the very very BEST! Best wishes here from HongKong!"
Happy birthday! Have a lovely day! Sorry THE BUG ruined your celebrations. Here’s a cuter sillier one to send you some love xx pic.twitter.com/GHaHI83lNm— Amelia Clark - Lover of Flagons (@gingertotty) March 22, 2020
Mohamad also seems to be a regular helper of the elderly. On his Twitter account, he shared another instance where he helped an elderly person living alone. He wrote on Twitter, "I dropped food & supplies at elderly living alone today. I was running away while they caught me. They wanted to thank me by giving a hug. But I can't due to COVID-19. They cried & said 'Thank you.' I didn't take this photo to show off, but to encourage you. Let’s help each other."
I dropped food & supplies at elderly living alone today. I was running away while they caught me. They wanted to thank me by giving a hug. But I can't due to COVID-19. They cried & said “Thank you”. I didn't take this photo to show off, but to encourage you. Let’s help each other pic.twitter.com/7GGLuxFxni— Mohamad Safa (@mhdksafa) March 23, 2020
Mohamad has a message for all his followers and it is one of kindness in these tough times. "COVID-19 is a reminder that we are all connected. A reminder that we are all equal, regardless of our culture, religion, etc. A reminder that the essentials that we need are food, water, and medicine, not luxuries. A reminder to look for each others. A reminder of our nature..." he wrote on Twitter.
🎂Birthday FUN at 101🎂 Dear Owen, you’ve witnessed sweeping innovations since you were born. Rotary phone to iPhone...Studebaker to Tesla...Flight infancy to Supersonic...and despite all the changes...it’s love 💕 that remains the same...Birthday blessings! pic.twitter.com/3Idmv5zCHl— Rita Ann (@DaPugetSoundGrl) March 22, 2020
Many older people have had it hard during this period as they fear going out to get even groceries. In the US, many grocery stores are coming up with senior hours to make sure that older adults are able to shop in peace. This works out for seniors looking to avoid a large crowd while getting the essentials.
Few chain supermarkets like Whole Foods and Stop & Shop, as well as some mom-and-pop stores, have announced that they will cordon off the first one or two hours for only people 60 or older to shop, according to Huffpost.
While this too comes with its risks, experts have weighed the pros and cons of this. "I think there are positives and negatives," said Nadia Abuelezam, an epidemiologist and an assistant professor at Boston College’s Connell School of Nursing. "It might not be the most ideal situation ... but as long as people are taking the proper precautions, it’s a decent option."