WebMD News Brief

Sidewalk Chalk Used to Spread Joy Amid Pandemic

photo of family hugging

March 25, 2020 -- People across the country are using simple sidewalk chalk to create uplifting new works of art, to express hope that this pandemic will soon be over, and to give thanks to health care workers and first responders.

After a statewide shelter-in-place order went into effect, one woman in California asked her neighbors to draw a picture, or write a message, outside their home to lift each other’s spirits. Dozens of households participated, drawing elaborate works of art for their neighbors to enjoy.

Someone surprised staff members at South Georgia Medical Center in Valdosta, GA, by scrawling “thank you” across their parking deck. The hospital posted on Facebook to thank the anonymous artist for the sweet messages.

Employees at UPMC Hamot in Erie, PA, used chalk to turn the hospital’s sidewalk into a red carpet to honor health care workers as they walked inside.

 

Countless more have shared their masterpieces on social media, using the hashtags #ChalkTheWalk and #ChalkYourWalk, as a growing number of states and cities order residents to stay at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The CDC is urging anyone having anxiety or stress about the outbreak to take time to unwind and connect with others. The agency says anyone who is feeling overwhelmed can reach the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990, or text TalkWithUs to 66746.

WebMD Health News Brief Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH on March 25, 2020

Sources

Facebook: Daphne Sashin, March 20, 2020.

Facebook: SGMC Valdosta, March 21, 2020.

Facebook: UPMC, March 22, 2020.

Instagram.

CDC: “Manage Anxiety & Stress.”

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